A number of hand sanitizers have been found to contain less alcohol than described through online marketplaces, which could leave people unprotected against the coronavirus, a Which? research has found.
The worst offensive product was identified as the Klenzy Hand Sanitizing Gel, available for sale on eBay, which claims to have an alcohol content of 75% but actually only contains 10%, according to consumer group tests.
Hand sanitizers require an alcohol content of between 60% and 90% to be considered effective against Covid-19. Sanitizers normally use ethanol, isopropanol, or a mixture of both.
Which? Scientists tested 18 products available at retailers, supermarkets and online marketplaces.
Three bought on online marketplaces eBay and Etsy couldn’t show the same alcohol levels as claimed on the product listing page or packaging.
The VaidaMakeup Hand Sanitiser Gel sold on Etsy was found to have 33% instead of the said 70%, while the Hansan Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser on eBay came in at 35% instead of 70%.
eBay removed both product listings and banned the sellers from reselling hand sanitizer on the site, while the seller on Etsy said it removed the listing and contacted all customers to warn them.
“We have no ultimate control over sellers’ items, but we do ask them to act with integrity, as was the case here by taking action as soon as the issue is brought to their attention,” Etsy said in a statement.
Seven products from Amazon Marketplace were also part of the study, but were approved with the correct stated and required alcoholic strengths.
All other hand sanitizers purchased from retailers and supermarkets also lived up to their stated claims.
“It is extremely concerning that hand sanitizers readily available from online marketplaces eBay and Etsy make misleading claims about alcohol content and could unknowingly expose consumers to the Covid-19 virus,” said Natalie Hitchins. head of household products and services.
“The good news is that our research shows that if you buy hand sanitizer from a well-known and trusted brand it increases the chances of it doing what you need, but you are more likely to win a lottery if you buy from lesser-known sellers online marketplaces. “
Which? said it reached out to sellers of the Hansan and Klenzy products for comment but received no response.
It could not find manufacturer contact details.
An eBay spokesperson said, “The two listings marked by which? have been removed, and we have taken appropriate action against the sellers, who are no longer allowed to sell hand sanitizer on eBay. “