Upon arriving at an establishment, you might’ve been greeted with a sanitiser gun to disinfect your body from potential Covid-like germs.
Sanitiser spray machines, also known as nano mist sanitiser guns, have become the newest must-have item during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are now permanent fixtures in shops, cars, and many homes, supposedly to sanitise items and keep the virus at bay.
Online shopping malls have promoting them, with prices ranging from RM20 to as high as RM150, with one seller moving over 10,000 units a month on one platform. Needless to say, these guns are everywhere.
Bottles of chlorine dioxide tablets are supplied to be mixed with water in the bottle attachment, while some products push different germ-killing formulations such as Hypochlorous Acid and more.
However, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has recently cautioned people to be careful when using sanitisers as it could be ineffective or even harmful.
MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said the use of sanitisers has been on an increase ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began. It is important for people to look at the labels which will outline the usage and other instructions.
“Use of unregistered products is dangerous as there will be issues with its efficacy and safety,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Dr Koh added that those who were Covid-19 positive do not carry the virus on their clothes or external surfaces, unless they employ unsanitary practices while coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.
Adopting standard operating procedures (SOPs) with the use of face mask and social distancing is more effective than spraying the whole body with disinfectant spray, he said.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Amirah Mohd Gazzali also commented on the sanitiser guns to say that bleach mixes, such as chlorine dioxide like the ones being sold online, are not good for the skin, as they could cause serious health problems, including tissue and blood cell damage.
In the context of killing the virus that causes Covid-19, USM’s Kumitaa Theva Das said that in the earlier days of the virus, sanitation tunnels spraying similar chemicals were proven ineffective to be used on people.
Recently, the Thai Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against the use of alcohol spray guns, saying it may spread viruses widely and also carry the risk of skin cancer due to the UV lights. Kumitaa also dismissed this claim.
If you own a local business, consider these guidelines before spraying your customers!