Date
21 October 2019
The Consumer Council said some handwash products were found to contain allergy-inducing preservatives. Photo: HKEJ
The Consumer Council said some handwash products were found to contain allergy-inducing preservatives. Photo: HKEJ

Not all handwash products can kill 99.9% of germs as claimed

Only two out of eight tested handwash products can live up to the claim that they can kill 99.9 percent of germs, the Consumer Council said.

The watchdog tested 35 samples of handwash products, including 15 that claim to have antibacterial properties. Of the samples, eight claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs.

However, only two products Watsons wild berry foaming hand wash and Walch antibacterial foaming hand wash – passed the council’s tests on being able to kill 99 percent of the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (E. coli). 

As for the 15 hand washes that claim to have antibacterial functions, some were found not effective in killing E. coli, while the efficacy of three hand washes was below 41 percent.

Also, 13 of the hand wash products were found to contain allergy-inducing preservatives.

Three samples contained methylisothiazolinone (MIT) while eight had methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT). Two others were found to contain both preservatives.

The concentration of preservatives in some of the samples exceeded European standards.

These preservatives can make people’s hands itchy or even cause dermatitis.

Gilly Wong, the council’s chief executive, said handwash products are covered under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, but listing specific ingredients on the product label is not a requirement.

In choosing hand washes, consumers are advised to pay attention to the skin reaction after such products are used.

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WL/CG