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Two die after drinking alcohol hand sanitiser

Canadian authorities say two people have died after ingesting an alcohol based hand sanitiser containing methanol, a highly toxic and undeclared ingredient.

Tests conducted by Ontario’s Centre of Forensic Sciences on two bottles of the alcohol based Bodico Hand Sanitiser found they contained methanol, a highly toxic alcohol that can cause blindness or death if ingested, and not ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient listed for the product.

Product labels did warn against the dangers of ingestion the two compounds are difficult to differentiate due to similarities in appearance and odour.

Authorities have not yet revealed details concerning the deceased but did warn that alcohol based hand sanitisers should never be ingested.

Although the undeclared methanol is currently being investigated as the cause of death even legitimate alcohol based hand sanitisers present significant dangers. A mentally disabled man from Ohio, US, died in 2011 after drinking alcohol based hand sanitiser and reports of alcoholics stealing sanitiser from public park toilets and NHS wards suggest a wider issue.

Despite continued warnings from health-care professionals, a simple YouTube search collects countless hits of teenagers ingesting hand sanitisers to get intoxicated. Worryingly, ‘how-to’ videos even explain the process required to turn hand sanitiser into pure alcohol.

The problem is becoming a major concern in the US as teenagers in particular seem unaware of the dangers of such a high content of alcohol. One especially worrying incident saw two 13-year-old students charged with attempted poisoning after periodically slipping alcohol based hand sanitiser into their teachers tea over a three month period.

Canadian authorities are now issuing warning notices and recalling Bodico product.

  • EcoHydra is 100% toxin and alcohol free and therefore presents none of the dangers presented by alcohol based hand sanitisers. Our formula kills up to 99.9999% of common bacteria – a better efficacy rate than the typical alcohol based high street product. EcoHydra is available at most Boots stores and online at

Written by PAUL WILSON — October 30, 2013

World Celebrates Global Handwashing Day

As the world marks the 6th annual Global Handwashing Day, new figures released by UNICEF claim 1,400 children under five still die every day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene practices.

‘The simple act of handwashing is one of the most effective ways to save children’s lives,’ said Sanjay Wijesekera, global head of UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes. ‘Washing hands before eating and after defecation drastically reduces the spread of diarrhoeal disease and has far reaching effects on the health and welfare of children and communities.’

According to UNICEF, diarrhoea remains the second largest cause of under-five mortality in the world. However, one of the simplest and most inexpensive barriers to infection can be better hand hygiene. Research shows that children living in households which promote good handwashing behaviours had half the diarrheal rates of children living in control neighbourhoods. Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine.

In this sense, handwashing can be thought of as a ‘do it yourself’ vaccine, as a preventative measure rather than a cure. One which is ideal for areas of the world without access to first-class healthcare and medical intervention, and one which offers unparalleled cost-effectiveness in terms of preventing disease.

Since its inception in 2008 by The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) Global Handwashing Day has promoted events around the world to raise awareness of the crucially important role hygiene can play in a child’s survival and the overall health of their community.

Originally created for children and schools the movement has now blossomed into a worldwide celebration which is estimated to involve over 200 million people in over 100 countries. The active participation and involvement of children, along with culturally sensitive community-based interventions aim at ensuring sustained behavioural change.

Global Handwashing Day also provides an opportunity to raise questions over some of the potentially harmful chemical ingredients that are still used in many soap and hand washes.

The worry is that legislation has struggled to keep up with chemical development and long after they’ve been made available for daily use, links are being made between some of these chemicals and health concerns such as hormone disruption, allergies, asthma and even cancer.

‘Unfortunately, the majority of people assume that the chemicals we use have been thoroughly tested and regulated,’ says campaigner against toxic chemicals and founder of ecostore, Malcolm Rands. ‘While good hand washing technique is very important, there are many chemicals such as tricolsan, parabens, cocamide DEA and SLS cocamidopropyl betaine that are widely used in many soaps and hand washes. These chemicals can dry and irritate the skin by stripping away the protective oils and lead to more serious conditions like eczema and dermatitis.’

‘When most people wash their hands, it’s cleanliness not nasty chemicals on their minds. When really our attitude should be if there is scientific proof or any doubt that such chemicals could harm us, we use the precautionary principle and find a safer one,’ says Rands.

This year’s theme, announced by the PPPHW, is ‘The power in your hands’ because, the partnership says, everyone has the power to make an impact in creating healthier communities through the power of hand hygiene.

Written by PAUL WILSON — October 15, 2013

Police officer ‘stung’ by alcohol gel

Policing the streets of Britain can be a tough and demanding job. But it seems that our bobbies still can’t let their guard down even when they return back to the office.

Freedom of Information requests recently revealed hundreds of bizarre office-related injuries that had been reported by officers, some resulting in compensation claims.

Among the hundreds of claims was a Norfolk Police officer who sustained severe stinging to the eyes after ‘inadvertently’ squirting alcohol hand sanitiser from a pump dispenser into their eyes.

Others include a foot injury after being ‘run over by an office chair’ and an officer who scalded themselves ‘whilst washing up in the kitchen area’.

While we are pretty sure these accidents only compelled the officers in question to reach for the accident book rather than a compensation form we are also sure they learnt a valuable lesson – ALCOHOL-FREE HAND SANITISER IS THE WAY FORWARD!


Written by PAUL WILSON — September 25, 2013

Fred Olsen ‘Black Watch’ hit by Norovirus

The Fred Olsen-operated cruise ship, Black Watch, has become the latest luxury liner to come down with a significant case of norovirus.

More than 130 passengers and crew were infected by the virus which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. After being quarantined in their rooms, passenger’s cabin doors and luggage was reportedly marked with chalk to protect others and aid the clean-up.

The cruise, which started on 8 September with 778 passengers, sailed from Fife to Scandinavia and then onto Russia before returning to Scotland late last week.

Specialist cleaners and health inspectors have since boarded the ship.

A spokeswoman for Fred Olsen said ‘The health, safety and well-being of all our guests is paramount and we believe that our systems for preventing the spread of illness on board our ships are amongst the best within the industry.’

Although the cruise industry has been praised for its efforts in curbing the spread of norovirus and other stomach bugs it is thought that the problem could be solved by changing hygiene products supplied on board. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers which are currently used on the majority of cruise liners are ineffective against norovirus and therefore offer no protection against the ‘cruise ship bug’.

Norovirus is an incredibly strong virus which can survive for long periods of time either in the air, on surfaces or on the skin. Alcohol-based products have been proven to evaporate too quickly, not remaining on the skin long enough to eliminate the virus.

  • EcoHydra’s non-alcohol formula contains the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride and remains on the surface of the skin long enough to kill the Norovirus. EcoHydra is available at most Boots stores and online.


Written by PAUL WILSON — September 24, 2013

Ladies beware – handbag horrors revealed!

It may be rude to look into a woman’s handbag - but if recent research is anything to go by you probably don’t want to anyway. It appears that next to the purse, underneath the sunglasses and beside the hand sanitiser lies a multitude of hygiene sins.

E.coli, nasty stomach bugs and even particles of poo have been found in the handbags of thousands of UK women. 1 in 3 admit to NEVER cleaning their handbag, while 20% said they would happily chew a loose piece of gum found at the bottom of their holdall. Many also admitted to carrying shoes, dirty pants and snotty tissues amongst their everyday items.

The research by Mentos Pure Fresh Gum is designed to make people think twice about their handbag habits.

Claire Powley, from Mentos, said ‘Our research results are extremely shocking, particularly as so many of us wouldn’t think twice about eating loose gum found in the bottom of our bag, completely unaware of the harmful bacteria we are putting into our mouths.’

Although it’s pretty clear that a once upon a time deep clean wouldn’t go a miss making sure you maintain regular hand hygiene will also keep your handbag and its contents cleaner and healthier. We carry millions of germs on our hands, and although most are harmless, some cause colds, flu, skin infections, diarrhoea and sickness. Without good hand hygiene these harmful germs are passed onto everything (and everyone) we touch – including everything in your handbag. These germs will then thrive in the warm and sweaty nether regions of a bag, making every dip in and out a potential health disaster.

Water and soap aren’t always available so the best way to fight back against your handbag of horrors is with a good quality hand sanitiser. Alcohol based products will kill a certain amount of germs but aren’t effective against nasties such as Norovirus, the UK’s most common stomach bug. The harsh chemicals and toxics found in alcoholic sanitisers also dry and crack the skin, leaving hands sore and more susceptible to germs.

EcoHydra’s Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser is 99.9999% effective against common bacteria (including Norovirus) and contains added Aloe Vera to moisturize the skin. The alcohol free formula is safe and suitable for everyone and can be used repeatedly throughout the day without affecting the skin’s natural pH level. Carrying a travel sized bottle (either 50ml or 100ml) of EcoHydra in your handbag will ensure both your hands and your handbag will stay fresh and clean!

(But please – however clean your handbag, resist the temptation of that loose piece of gum…)

Written by PAUL WILSON — September 18, 2013

P&G drops dangerous chemical triclosan

Procter and Gamble, the world’s largest personal care company, has announced plans to phase out the use of the controversial ingredient triclosan from its product range.

The move has come after growing pressure from advocacy groups and continued investigations into the safety of the compound by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Triclosan is a chemical that inhibits or stops the spread of bacteria and is still very much in use in products such as toothpastes, deodorants and hand washes and sanitisers. It is not currently known to be hazardous to humans, however animal studies have linked the chemical to heart, muscle and hormone problems.

After mice were exposed to just one dose of triclosan, heart function was reduced by 25 percent and grip strength was reduced by 18 percent. These findings are particularly worrying considering the multiple times that we unwittingly consume triclosan on a daily basis.

Many alcohol based hand sanitisers still contain triclosan even though the products efficacy has been questioned as well as its safety concerns. EcoHydra does not contain triclosan and is 100% alcohol-free and non-toxic. To ensure you don’t expose yourself to any risk while the dangers of triclosan are further investigated check product ingredient labels before you buy.

Even though the product was first registered in the US in 1969 as a pesticide it has been used in the hygiene and personal care industry even since. The move by P&G has been widely welcomed but companies such as Colgate still use the chemical and defend its use.

Written by PAUL WILSON — September 09, 2013

Back to School: How to protect your child from Norovirus

It’s that time of year again. Schools around the UK are back in action, which means – for both children and teachers – spending most of the day in close proximity to each other. The nights are drawing in and the days getting colder – although we might not want to admit it yet – winter is coming. Some children may even welcome a winter sniffle in order to squeeze a few days off school from their parents but one bug you definitely don’t want them to catch is norovirus.

  • How dangerous is it?

A leading disease specialist in the US recently stated ‘Anyone who has had norovirus will tell you that for the first day, they are worried they might die. On the second day, they are worried that they won’t die’. Cases rarely last longer than 2 days and normally pass naturally but it can be more dangerous among vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.

  • Why should I be concerned?

It’s on the rise. The NHS now estimates annual cases to total over 1 million – making it the most common stomach bug in the UK.

Norovirus is particularly dangerous in confined communities such as schools as it spreads quickly and easily, often infecting a whole group in a matter of hours. It also has extraordinary abilities to survive for long periods of time either in the air, on surfaces or the skin.

Put simply – norovirus couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

  • How can I protect my child?

The best way to protect your child is to ensure they practice good hand hygiene. Although norovirus can be airborne it is most often spread through contact with an infected person, through shaking or holding hands for example. It can be difficult to make children wash their hands in the conventional way and water and soap are not always readily available so arm them with an ALCOHOL-FREE hand sanitiser.

Most hand sanitisers contain a high alcohol content which is obviously unsafe for children to use. As well as this, most alcohol-based products are not effective at killing norovirus. In order for a product to eliminate the virus from the hands it requires the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride. Both the EcoHydra Hand Sanitiser and Hand Wash contain this active ingredient, making them effective at killing norovirus. This ingredient is also non-toxic, making EcoHydra 100% safe for children.

Norovirus is incredibly contagious, so if you know your child has been unlucky enough the contract the bug don’t send them to school.

  • What are the symptoms?

Extreme and sudden vomiting and diarrhoea, and perhaps headaches and cramps from dehydration. Ensure your child drinks plenty of water

  • The EcoHydra Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser (50ml) is available to buy at most Boots stores. Both the Hand Sanitiser and the Hand Wash are available in various sizes at

Written by PAUL WILSON — September 06, 2013

British couple sue cruise operator after Norovirus outbreak

A British couple are among 50 cruise liner passengers taking legal action against travel firm Thompson Cruises after being infected by the dangerous norovirus bug.

Jean Newcombe was treated to the £1,850 trip on the Island Escape liner by husband Kerry to celebrate her 69th birthday and their second wedding anniversary, but they quickly fell violently ill with the bug which effectively put an end to their Mediterranean trip.

Grandma-of-three Jean said: ‘It was a complete nightmare and the whole holiday was ruined as a result of the sickness. We’ll certainly remember it, but for all the wrong reasons’

‘I think there was a problem with hygiene as there were sick bags all over the ship. When a doctor saw me, he told me he was very busy.’

The couple, from Great Barr in Birmingham, represent just a fraction of the more than 250 passengers who have taken legal action against the Island Escape cruise liner since 2009. The ship, operated by Thompson Cruises, has been blighted by outbreaks of norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus is a particular problem on cruise ships because of its extraordinary ability to survive for long periods of time both on surfaces and in the air. The virus, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, also spreads particularly quickly in confined communities such as cruise ships, airplanes and hospitals. Regardless of cruise operators efforts to introduce more stringent hygiene procedures outbreaks continue to occur due to the strength of the ‘super bug’. Typical alcohol-based hand sanitisers are not effective against norovirus, leading many professionals to suggest the use of alcohol-free products which contain the active ingredient necessary to kill the germ.

Clifton Melvin, Chairman of EcoHydra, a company which supplies alcohol-free products effective against norovirus said: ‘Ensuring your guests have the best possible experience has to be the leisure industry’s priority. Failure to do this results in a loss of business and reputation, not to mention the cost and adverse publicity of legal proceedings.’

‘Cruise operators must immediately improve their practices if they are to avoid future instances of norovirus. Until that happens passengers should arm themselves with a hand sanitiser effective against the virus before they board the ship.’ he added.

Once home the couple were offered a small amount of compensation but decided to take legal action along with other passengers. A spokesman for Thomson apologized to the couple but said it would be inappropriate to comment further due to the current legal proceedings.


  • EcoHydra’s Alcohol-free Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser contains the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) which quickly and effectively kills Norovirus. Alcohol-based products DO NOT offer protection against Norovirus. EcoHydra is available in most Boots stores and online at


Written by PAUL WILSON — August 22, 2013

Norovirus: what you need to know

Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug as it is sometimes known, is on the rise and easier to catch than ever. Don’t let the name fool you; although it is more common in the winter months, norovirus can strike at any time of the year.

  • How much of it is there about?

Recorded cases rose by more than four times between 2005 to 2012, with last year seeing over 14,000 confirmed infections according to the Food Standards Agency. This however is thought to be a fraction of the true number – as the NHS estimate the total number of annual cases to be between 600,000 and 1 million.

  • What can I do to avoid it?

The virus is easily spread through contact with an infected person, especially via the hands. Alcohol based gel hand sanitisers or wipes DO NOT kill norovirus. In order for a product to eliminate the virus from the hands it requires the active ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride. Both the EcoHydra Hand Sanitiser and Hand Wash contain this active ingredient, making them effective in killing norovirus.

  • How do I know I’ve got it?

Sudden vomiting and diarrhoea will make it hard to miss. You may also suffer from headaches, fever and cramps due to dehydration.

  • How long does it last?

Norovirus usually produces intense symptoms for a day or two, but most will recover naturally. The NHS advise against visiting your doctor - as there is no cure - but also as a precaution to avoid infecting others. If symptoms persist for more than 3 or 4 days, or if you already have a serious illness, phone your GP.

  • Is it contagious?

Extremely. Norovirus is highly infectious and only the tiniest amount of virus particles (20 in fact) are required to cause infection. Professor Ian Goodfellow of the University of Cambridge has dubbed the superbug ‘the Ferrari of the virus world’ because of its ability to survive for long periods of time either on surfaces or in the air. It’s particularly dangerous in confined communities such as schools, hospitals, care homes and cruise ships. Norovirus docks cruise ships, makes flying horribly uncomfortable and, in the most tragic of cases, can cause death amongst vulnerable groups.

  • What do I do when I’ve got it?

You’re not going to feel that sociable anyway but stay away from others. Drinking plenty of water is important and painkillers may ease some symptoms. Protect others around you by keeping good hand hygiene and not sharing towels or flannels.

  • The EcoHydra Instant Foam Hand Sanitiser is available to buy at most Boots stores. Both the Hand Sanitiser and the Hand Wash are available in various sizes at


Written by PAUL WILSON — August 16, 2013

Norovirus outbreak sweeps care home, kills 9

Nine have died and 150 people have been infected as a norovirus outbreak swept through a Canadian care home.

Noroviruses are highly contagious and cause severe vomiting, cramps and diarrhoea. Although symptoms can clear in a matter of day’s officials say noroviruses are especially dangerous for vulnerable people such as the elderly.

‘For somebody who is elderly and in very fragile health, it’s a stress their body really cannot tolerate,’ said Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). He added that the risk of infection is significantly increased in confined settings such as hospitals, schools, cruise ships or care homes.

The outbreak, which occurred at the Selkirk Place care home in Victoria, Vancouver, is now under control. Though the cause is not yet known, it is thought a food source is most likely to have caused such a widespread initial outbreak.

The area has suffered from multiple outbreaks recently. Two summer camps on Vancouver Island were closed due to norovirus, and two hospitals in Vancouver had to quarantine wards due to infections in January.

A suspected norovirus outbreak also recently caused 26 passengers on a Qantas Chile to Sydney flight to be quarantined. The passengers, who were all part of the same tour group, were thought to have contracted the illness before they boarded the 14-hour flight.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates norovirus contributes to up to 71,000 hospitalisations and 800 deaths a year.

  • Typical alcohol based hand sanitisers DO NOT offer protection against norovirus – alcohol simply does not eliminate the germ. EcoHydra’s active ingredient effectively kills the norovirus bacteria which is essential for protecting confined settings such as hospitals, schools, cruise ships and care homes.


Written by PAUL WILSON — August 09, 2013


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