A post is going viral on social media, in which an image of blistered hands is juxtaposed with an image of hand sanitiser of ‘Farah company’ with a claim that the sanitiser of this brand is leading to a new form of virus which is causing hand blisters.
(Disclaimer: Gory image viewer discretion is advised)
NewsMobile did a fact-check and found the viral claim to be false.
On running a Google Reverse Image Search, we found the same image was present on a website, Find Glocal. The description associated with the image warned against the negligent use of hand sanitiser. The description says that hand sanitisers being alcohol-based is flammable in nature and can cause burns. It also warns against the prolonged use of gloves after putting on hand sanitiser as it can cause burns. The post nowhere spoke about the Farah hand sanitiser.
Further Google search led to a local website, United For Humanity, that had published the image on June 28, 2020. The article associated with the image mentioned that a person got blisters for using a local hand sanitiser.
NewsMobile contacted United For Humanity, who confirmed that this incident was from Kanpur where a person got blisters due to the use of fake and local sanitiser. A case against this incident was also registered in Kanpur thana kotwali.
On searching with the keyword, “Farah hand sanitiser”, we found a report published by the Times of Oman on April 22, 2020. The report says that the National Detergent Company (NDC), popular for its detergent brand ‘Bahar’ has launched its hand-sanitiser, Farah, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The website of the National Detergent company says that Farah hand sanitiser uses 70% of ethyl alcohol (standard requirement is 60% v/v ethyl alcohol) and only a traceable amount of methanol.
According to a report published by Trade Arabia, Farah hand-sanitiser is approved by Oman’s Ministry of Health. The report also quoted Anish Kumar, Head of Marketing at NDC, who said, “We have received a great response from customers for Farah hand sanitizer which is a great value product that offers advanced germ-killing power in a formulation that is gentle and soothing on the skin.” We nowhere found any media reports of adverse effects of Farah hand-sanitiser.
The Washington Post on August 8, 2020, reported that the United States Food and Drugs Administration (US FDA) has asked customers to avoid more than 130 hand sanitisers because either they lack a sufficient level of alcohol to kill germs or they contain dangerous and potentially deadly levels of wood alcohol. The report nowhere speaks about Farah hand sanitiser.
A paper by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says that excessive use of hand sanitiser may lead to dermatitis, a kind of skin irritation. But the site does not speak about any virus contraction due to the use of hand sanitisers.
World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests using hand sanitiser as a substitute for soap and water to wash hands frequently amid coronavirus pandemic.
NDC, the manufacturer of Farah sanitiser through email exchanges also told NewsMobile, “This is Fake news about our Farah Hand Sanitizer on social media and we would like to clarify this to all our valued consumers that Farah Hand Sanitizer has been in use for the last 12 years now and is the only Hand Sanitizer certified and approved by the Ministry of Health, Sultanate of Oman. It is also approved by SFDA (KSA) and ESMA (UAE). This Fake news has been propagated by some unknown person with bad intention and we have already initiated legal action against people who have posted and shared this fake news in their walls.”
As a reputed manufacturer, NDC assures you that all its products are of the best quality and are 100% safe.
Can sanitiser cause burns?
We found multiple media reports of people getting burns due to the use of hand sanitiser as it is flammable in nature due to its alcoholic base.
ABC reported on September 5, 2020, that a woman in Texas suffered burns after a hand-sanitiser caught fire.
Today quoted Dr Anthony Pizon, chief of medical toxicology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Hand sanitisers with high concentrations of ethanol and hydroxypropyl are flammable.” Pizon also suggested that alcohol most commonly used in hand sanitisers kills germs but can also ignite when close to flames. Though doctors most frequently hear complaints of dry, cracked skin and contact dermatitis, what might seem like a chemical burn, Pizon suggested recommended people simply switch brands to something less irritating for their skin.
FDA has also warned that hand sanitisers are flammable and should be stored away from heat or flame. Hand sanitiser should be rubbed into the hands until they feel completely dry before continuing activities that may involve heat, sparks, static electricity, or open flames.
Hence, we can evidently conclude that the viral image of hands having blisters are from Kanpur and has no association with Farah hand sanitiser. However, hand sanitisers should be used carefully.
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