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Tea with AK71: Hand sanitiser.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I started using hand sanitisers after the SARS outbreak years ago. Basically, everyone became a bit more conscious of the need for good personal hygiene. It is very sad but we usually need some earth shattering tragedy to effect some positive changes in society. I guess society evolves more rapidly due to such seismic events.

For many years now, I carry in my sling bag a small bottle of hand sanitiser. I would use it before meals or after doing some work with my hands. It gives me a peace of mind.

In the last two or three years, I switched to Dettol's hand sanitiser as it is the only one that did not leave a sticky feeling after use. The stickiness from using hand sanitisers is what puts off some people.  Dettol's formula solved that problem although it costs more.

Today, while driving to work, I saw a large bus ad announcing that Dettol's hand sanitiser kills 99.9% of all bacteria.  I guess this claim must be on the bottle too but I never really bothered to think about it before.  99.9% of all bacteria? What are the 0.1% of bacteria that remain alive and well?

Is that statement just a quantitative one which means that the sanitiser kills all types of bacteria but some are lucky enough to fall through the cracks? Or is the statement a qualitative one which means it kills 99.9% of all types of bacteria but 0.1% of bacteria types are so strong that they could resist elimination?  I would be very worried if 0.1% of bacteria types are strong enough to resist elimination!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess it kills all bacteria but manufacturers must protect themselves from lawsuits by adding such a disclaimer. If they state that it kills all bacteria and if someone proved that one single bacteria cell did not die, then they are in trouble.

I guess there is a psychological reasoning as well. People may not take the claim seriously if it was 100%. But if they had stated a more 'scientific pleasing number' like 99.9% or 98.1% etc, it gives people the idea that some sort of studies was done to derive those figures hence making such claims more credible

That's how I view it haha. I might be wrong !!!

Cheers
Nick

(not vested in the products) :)

mark said...

I think it is more of representation. I dont believe any product would declare they perform their task up to 100%. 99.9% just gives them that buffer if needed.

There is no perfection in this world I reckon.

In IT the best fail-safe equipment also guarantee 99.9% uptime, never 100%. :P

Anonymous said...

Hi, yes, in a way there is a quantitative aspect to the statement.

Typically there is a panel of test/representative microorganisms to test the effectivenes of the antiseptic.

AK71 said...

Hi guys,

Thanks for all the comments. If only one of my readers works for Dettol. Then, we could have an official statement (or maybe not). Haha ... ;)

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