Health Canada has already recalled more than 120 hand sanitizers, which prompted the Order of Chemists to say that a review of the law could have avoided this mess.
To cope with the explosion in demand, Health Canada has temporarily relaxed its rules for the production of hand sanitizers.
The easing opened the door to companies unlicensed by Health Canada and to the use of non-pharmaceutical grade alcohol sources, in severe supply shortages.
Health Canada withdrew 121 hand sanitizers from the market between June 1 and November 27 due to the presence of unauthorized ingredients, for labeling or packaging issues. As of December 8, it had opened 741 investigations into potential non-compliance for the same reasons.
In September, a report by I had already sounded the alarm. Noting that some products contained only 11 to 18% alcohol, the Ordre des chimistes du Québec (OCQ) reacted by opening an investigation into the production of hydroalcoholic gels, a progress report of which should be known in February. .
” This numbers [le nombre de rappels] concern us for the protection of the public. We think we have taken all the necessary measures, that we will not transmit the disease, but we have a false sense of security while using the product. It calls out to us, ”explains OCQ president Michel Alsayegh.
The latter estimates that, even if a disinfectant has a sufficient alcohol content of 60 to 70%, it is not a guarantee of quality. “We have to ensure that there is no addition of a product that is harmful to health or that interacts with another. We are talking about pure and simple chemistry here. The type of plastic in the container should be suitable for what you put in it, and not look like a water bottle. There have been cases of poisoning. “
Since the investigation began, Alsayegh says the order has been contacted both by employees worried about how production was being organized at their factory and by manufacturers who sought advice. “There is a way to handle chemicals. It can be dangerous, especially in terms of flammability and fumes. “
If he wants to avoid being attached to the label of corporatist, the president of the OCQ pleads for an update of the law on chemists, which dates from 1964.
“We don’t ask to have a chemist behind every bottle. But if in Quebec, Health Canada had made sure to give licenses to companies supervised by chemists, giving their seal of approval and being accountable, we would have ensured that the products leaving the factories were flawless. There would have been no recalls. “
Asked whether he was already revealing the conclusion of the OCQ report, Michel Alsayegh replied by laughing “lip service, yes, part!” “.