Health

Disinfection products in heavy demand in U.S. due to coronavirus

Makers of household cleaning supplies like Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers such as Purell are ramping up production due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. According to market researchers at Adobe Analytics, demand for hand sanitizers spiked 1,400% from December to January.  

The World Health Organization on Friday upgraded the global risk from the new coronavirus to “very high” as the outbreak continued to widen, with more than 83,000 cases of the COVID-19 disease confirmed in more than 50 nations. The global death toll topped 2,800.

Health officials advise that people disinfect countertops and other frequently touched surfaces to help contain the virus, as well as using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water aren’t readily available. 

Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Lysol parent Reckitt Benckiser Group, told analysts in an earnings call on Thursday that the British consumer products company’s “people are working around the clock with consumers in mind.” Chinese consumers are purchasing more cleaning products online as they avoid public shopping expeditions, Narasimhan noted. 

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Clorox, too, is powering up for surging demand. “Clorox has increased production of our disinfecting products, and we’re monitoring the issue closely in order to be prepared to meet the needs of people, retailers, health care facilities and communities,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “Many Clorox disinfecting products have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to this coronavirus strain on nonporous surfaces.”

Clorox could not comment on whether it’s seeing increased sales, as the public company is in between earnings announcements and regards it as “new market information.” In an earnings call February 4, Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said the company was gearing up to “be able to supply our customers and also our health-care institutional customers.”

Gojo Industries, the maker of Purell, also said it had ramped up production. “We are seeing increased demand for our hygiene products, including hand sanitizer, hand soap, hand sanitizing wipes and surface disinfection spray,” a spokesperson said in an email. 

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The company in late January was told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop making unfounded marketing claims that some of its hand sanitizers can help guard against Ebola, norovirus, the flu and other maladies. Gojo took immediate action to rectify the situation after getting the FDA warning, the company said in a statement on its website. 

The Lysol, Clorox and Purell brands are among a list of more than 100 products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as effective at killing viruses, according to the Center for Biocide Chemistries, an industry trade group.


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