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July/August 2009

Hand Sanitizers

Outbreaks of the H1N1 influenza this year have increased the public’s awareness and use of leave-on hand antiseptics, popularly known as hand sanitizers. ASTM International Committee E35 on Pesticides and Alternative Control Agents is now developing a proposed new standard that will measure the antibacterial activity of hand sanitizers on people’s hands.

WK23789, Test Method for Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Leave-On Health Care Personnel Handwash Formulations, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E35.15 on Antimicrobial Agents.

David Macinga, microbiology principal scientist, GOJO Industries Inc., and leader of the WK23789 task group, notes that hand sanitizers are currently evaluated using E1174, Test Method for Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Health Care Personnel Handwash Formulations. However, E1174 was designed to evaluate rinse-off antimicrobial soaps.

“WK23789 is useful in that it more accurately reflects the typical use pattern for hand sanitizers and is simpler to perform than the test in E1174,” says Macinga. “The proposed new standard also produces results that are reflective of the real-world efficacy of these products.”

In addition to use by companies developing and/or marketing leave-on hand antiseptic products, Macinga says that WK23789 will have applications for academic and clinical researchers interested in topical antiseptics. All interested parties are invited to participate in the ongoing development of WK23789.


Technical Information: David Macinga, GOJO Industries Inc., Akron, Ohio

Phone: 330-255-6292

ASTM Staff: Jennifer Rodgers

Phone: 610-832-9694