In light of the recent viral post showing photos of a car with damaged ceiling and car seat, allegedly caused by explosion involving alcohol, the Food and Drug Administration hereby issues this Advisory to reiterate the safe use, handling and storage for alcohol-based hand sanitizers/rubs.
According to the World Health Organization, all alcohol-based products are potentially flammable and therefore they should be stored away from high temperatures and flames. Alcohol is highly flammable in the presence of heat, sparks, or an open flame. While isopropyl alcohol products for home use are generally less concentrated and less than industry-standard versions, precautions still need to be taken when handling, using and storing this product. The location of dispensers, the storage of stock, the disposal of used containers/dispensers and expired stock should be given consideration in terms of risks of fire. Alcohol should be stored in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Due to the chemical’s extreme flammability, it must be kept away from all possible ignition sources, including heat, sparks and flames.
- Local and central (bulk) storage must comply with fire regulations regarding the type of cabinet and storage, respectively.
- Storage facilities should ideally be air-conditioned or cool rooms.
- No open flames or smoking should be permitted in areas where alcohol is used or stored. *The flash points of ethanol 80% (v/v) and isopropyl alcohol 75% (v/v) are 17.5 °C and 19°C.
- Containers and dispenser cartridges containing hand rub should be stored in a cool place away from sources of ignition. This also applies to used containers that have not been rinsed with water.
- Disposal of containers and dispensers should follow guidelines on health care waste management under the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR).
Location of Dispensers
- Handrub dispensers should not be placed above or close to potential sources of ignition, such as light switches and electrical outlets, or next to oxygen or other medical gas outlets, due to the increased risk of vapours igniting.
- Handrub dispensers should not be placed in any corridor that forms part of a means of escape (i.e. outside the ward). If dispensers are placed in a circulation area within a ward (e.g. outside bedded areas) it is recommended that they are at least 1.2 meters apart, the circulation area is at least 2 meters wide and the maximum container size is 1 liter.
- Consideration should be given to the risks associated with spillage onto floor coverings, including the risk of pedestrian slips.
For complete information on the label of rubbing alcohols, refer to the image below and the Appendix II – Cosmetic Labeling Requirements of the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
The general consuming public is enjoined to be vigilant of any untoward incidents related on the use of these products. Dissemination of this Advisory to all concerned is hereby requested.