Today, the European Commission has not been able to agree on the correct classification of hydroalcoholic gels for hand sanitization.
The debate is about the fact that some Member States have raised the question that the cosmetic cleansing action attributed to these products may not be relevant, since the cleansing action cannot be fully carried out without the rinsing of the hands.
COMPLIFE wants to express its position retracing the discussion already faced since the beginning of the health emergency due to the pandemic by COVID-19: washing with soap and water is undoubtedly the most effective method for removing impurities and dirt residues from the hands; in addition, in everyday life, non-rinsing hydroalcoholic gels are not properly suitable for cleaning dirty hands, but they are generally recommended in all those outdoor situations where water is poorly accessible (e.g. traveling, on public transport…).
COMPLIFE therefore recognises their usefulness and supports their cosmetic classification, provided that the labelling is clear and not misleading to the consumer.
The “detergent without water” action must appear as a primary function and the consumer must easily understand that these products don’t exert any biocidal action in bacteria and viruses. The “sanitizing” action must be clearly presented as a secondary effect and ancillary to the main cleansing function. No symbols or particular names which may have a disinfectant function shall be used, nor shall the presence of active ingredients which are attributed a misleading antibacterial or antiviral action be emphasised, that a cosmetic can in no way boast.
It is also essential to draw attention to a final objection that emerged during this discussion: the solvent action carried out by alcohol on the deposits of dirt present on the hands would be only partial due to the failure of subsequent mechanical removal. Observation in our opinion well-founded and certainly largely supportable, however we think it important to highlight as the excessive use of additional “vehicles” – such as wipes or paper towels – may not be of such benefit as to justify the anti-ecological choice of producing disproportionate amounts of extra waste to be disposed of.