Support against Coronavirus: WESSLING France tests concentration of ethanol in disinfectants

Our colleagues of WESSLING France support manufacturers of disinfectants by using their
expertise and the recently opened alcohol laboratory at our site in Paris to analyse the
concentration of ethanol in hydroalcoholic products – as the correct mixture is the precondition for
the disinfecting effect.


In the pandemic context due to COVID-19 hydroalcoholic products have become a rare commodity. Nevertheless, these skin aseptic solutions with bactericidal, fungicidal and especially virucidal properties are necessary to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many cosmetic companies have taken the initiative to produce hydroalcoholic solutions to supply health professionals and all institutions and companies that continue to be active in the daily life of the country to counteract with the current shortage.


The composition and effectiveness of hydroalcoholic products

Regarding the current situation, the French State published the Order of 20 March 2020 amending the Order of 13 March 2020 authorising by derogation the temporary placing on the market and use of certain hydro-alcoholic products used as disinfectant biocides for human hygiene. This order specifies four formulas temporarily authorised for the creation of hydroalcoholic products. According to these formulae and according to WHO recommendations, hydro-alcoholic products must be at least composed of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide (or hydrogen peroxide), glycerol and distilled water in order to be effective. The ethanol (alcohol) in the solution plays the major role as it has disinfectant and antiseptic properties. Its concentration in hydroalcoholic gels or solutions is the only one subject to regulations and must be controlled. In fact, the Afssaps (French health products safety agency) recommends the use of hydroalcoholic solutions or gels tested according to standard NF EN 14476 or with an optimal alcohol concentration between 60% and 70% (volume/volume) or at a concentration between 520 and 630 mg/g. Glycerol acts as a humectant and thus protects the skin to which the gel or hydroalcoholic solution is applied. Hydrogen peroxide is used to inactivate bacterial spores potentially present in the product but does not act as an antiseptic.


Controlling of ethanol concentration in finished products

In order to ensure the effectiveness of these products, companies producing hydroalcoholic products must therefore have the concentration of ethanol in the finished products controlled. WESSLING carries out these controls in its alcohol laboratory and thus provides support to companies producing hydroalcoholic solutions and thereby helps to improve the current health situation. Measures to ensure the health of our employees To continue the activity of the alcohol analysis laboratory at the WESSLING site in Paris, numerous measures have of course been taken to ensure the health and safety of the company's employees. Workstations in the laboratory have been set up to enable employees to maintain a minimum distance of two meters from each other; each employee is given a new mask, clean gloves and other necessary PPE on a daily basis. In addition, the WESSLING Group has given clear instructions regarding barrier gestures and hygiene rules to be respected. They are repeated daily and the management ensures that they are strictly applied in order to do everything possible to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure the health and safety of the employees.