MAKING THE PRODUCTS THAT SOCIETY NEEDS
At INEOS our business is to make the products that society needs. So when the coronavirus pandemic led to a global shortage of sanitizing products, we set about manufacturing and distributing the large volumes needed to meet the shortfall, firstly to health authorities, and then more broadly to all.
In just three months we installed 6 new plants in the USA, UK, Germany, and France and are now producing 1 Million bottles of hand sanitizer every month.
Alcohol-based sanitizer has long been recognized by the scientific and medical communities as the simplest and most effective way of destroying germs when soap and water are not readily available (ref 1). The germs cannot build up resistance (ref 2), meaning that no matter how often you use it, the cleansing will be just as effective. Alcohol provides an additional deep clean of germs that is quick and convenient (ref 3). Its use is standard procedure in health care environments and hospitals.
At the core of our sanitizer is high purity IPA, which is manufactured under strictly controlled conditions. The IPA is free of impurities seen in many agricultural sources of IPA of concern to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) (ref 4)
We formulate our hand sanitizer gel and spray with 75% isopropyl alcohol, complying with the World Health Organization recommendations (ref 5), the US FDA regulations, and health services in Europe. This ensures that it is effective in killing 99.9% of germs. It also evaporates quickly after use leaving hands feeling clean and dry.
In responding to extraordinary circumstances, our first instinct was to supply the US hospitals and health services free of charge to see them through the peak. From project go-ahead to first deliveries took just 10 days. Now, with production ramped up and the initial peak of demand met, our sanitizer will be available soon through retailers. But we are not stopping there. Our bottles of hand gel will soon be followed by wipes and larger scale solutions for the workplace and homes.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of high purity synthetic alcohol, steeped in safety and operational excellence in a highly regulated environment, we are uniquely placed to assure our customers of continuity of supply and the highest levels of product quality. And, as a quickly evolving Hygiene business, we will be able to meet the demands of both consumers and businesses as we all adapt to the new demands for hygiene during the pandemic.
 Alcohols de-activate germs by denaturing the proteins and disrupting the lipid or fatty layers on which their structure and activity relies (ref 6). It is important that the alcohol sanitizer contains a high concentration of alcohol as recommended by WHO to ensure effectiveness. Sanitizers with too low a concentration of alcohol (eg less than 60%) or too high a concentration (eg 90% or more) are less effective.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings: Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. MMWR 2002;51(No. RR16):[1-56].
2. Kampf and Kramer, Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004 Oct; 17(4): 863–893.
3. Todd et al, Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 73, No. 11, 2010, Pages 2128–2140