Hand sanitiser triggers jet flame and nasty burns

An incident in Putte (Antwerp Province) suggests we should all be careful with hand sanitiser now that it is in common use.  Sanitiser is regularly used in Flemish shops as an alternative to hand-washing, but one gentleman suffered serious burns when he used some and proceeded to try and light a cigar.

Danielle, Hector’s wife, takes up the story: “My husband used hand sanitiser.  He did use quite a lot. When he snapped his lighter to light a cigar, a jet flame leaps 20 cm into the air.  Hector’s right hand caught fire.  He takes fright and tries to put out the fire using his left hand.  His left hand too catches fire.  He then takes off is jumper to put out the flames.”

Hector suffered serious burns: second degree burns to his right hand.  The local burns unit says they never experienced anything similar, but Danielle is keen to warn everybody.

Hand sanitiser requires 70% alcohol content to kill coronavirus and many people don’t always think of this.

Toxicologist Vera Rogiers: “It does mean we are slapping a lot of alcohol onto our hands.  Depending on the temperature it takes a while before this alcohol evaporates. Use hand sanitiser and alcohol vapour will surround your hands due to this evaporation process.  If you use a lighter or the like in the vicinity of this little cloud of vapour, you will get a jet flame.  The warmer it is, the longer the vapour will hang about.  You do need to be careful near barbecues on hot days!”

Top stories