The Wisconsin fire department in the US has warned against leaving alcohol-based sanitizer bottles in cars as they might explode. This has been supported by the National Fire Protection Association, which feels that with a flash point of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a sanitizer bottle can emit flammable vapor sans any other heat source.
In India, the Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department has advised people not to leave hand sanitizers in their cars when the day time temperature is close to 40 degree Celsius.
Most hand sanitizers are made of isopropyl alcohol and are extremely flammable in high temperature. Usually, news articles like these would immediately discourage us from using a product (remember the smartphone that earned a reputation for exploding?). But with the COVID-19 pandemic posing a constant threat to our daily lives, alcohol-based sanitizers are not something we can just do away with. At least not until we have a strong enough alternative.
According to recommendation of WHO, sanitizers containing 70 to 90 percent alcohol are essential to keep the pathogens at bay. But now, the very same alcohol that protects us is quickly becoming a cause of concern.
Practically, we’ve all faced issues with an overheated car engine. Beyond a point, this tends to heat the car cabin. When left in direct sunlight in an already overheated car cabin, an alcohol-based sanitizer can catch fire. If the bottle in not closed properly, the alcohol in the sanitizer can evaporate and create electric sparks inside the car.
Recently, a truck ferrying 5,000 liters of sanitizer caught fire. The Fire Services Department officials of Miyapur, Telangana suspect that the sanitizer leaked from 250 cans caught fire after being exposed to the heat generated by the truck. Though isopropyl has a high boiling point, the refraction created through the windshield ignited fire under heatwave-like conditions.
The CDC also considers alcohol-based hand sanitizers to be flammable, “which readily evaporates at room temperature into an ignitable vapor."
Safe hands are a necessity. But you don’t need to risk a fire hazard as collateral. Free molecular iodine-based antiseptics are probably our best bet!
Iodine is an age old anti-microbial agent that exists in gaseous form at room temperature. It is non-flammable so you don’t need to worry about your car blowing up. It penetrates deep inside the skin and creates a long-lasting protective shield. Jack Kessler and his team have leveraged this property of molecular iodine and created I2Cure that kills 99.9 percent microbes upon first contact and continues to generate a 12-hour bio-shield that protects your skin far longer than alcohol-based sanitizers. All without any risks to your health or the environmental. Unlike alcohol it does not evaporate immediately upon application and rests on the surface. It is formulated on glycerin base. So, there is no chance of catching fire. Carry it wherever you want. Although you will just need two small drops to protect you.