Information for UNA members regarding Technical Grade Ethanol Hand Sanitizer

On May 28, 2020, United Nurses of Alberta raised concerns with Alberta Health Services regarding technical-grade hand sanitizer that had been distributed and used across AHS sites starting on May 20, 2020. The concerns included inadequate communication of Health Canada warnings to Employees and a lack of appropriate labelling on containers and dispensers containing this product.

It is UNA's position that our members follow Health Canada's warnings that nurses who are pregnant, lactating, or have broken/compromised skin should not use hand sanitizer containing technical-grade ethanol hand sanitizer. Hand washing with soap and water continues to be an effective alternative to hand sanitizer for those who cannot use this product.

This product should only be used by adults. Children should not use or have access to hand sanitizer containing technical grade ethanol.

UNA received the attached response from AHS Vice Presidents Deb Gordon and Todd Gilchrist yesterday evening outlining the actions they will take, which include:

  • the distribution of labels starting on May 29, 2020 that can be placed on containers of Microsan Optidose and Ripshot containing technical grade ethanol, with the required Health Canada warnings.
  • the appropriate labelling of new stock leaving the warehouse starting today. 
  • the distribution of posters with similar warning information to be posted near any wall dispensers containing this product.

We would like to acknowledge the quick and comprehensive response from the AHS executives following the escalation of the concerns to their attention.

Covenant Health Occupational Health & Safety representatives confirmed that their organization initiated the labelling and poster distribution yesterday for hand sanitizer containers and wall dispensers containing technical grade ethanol.