Which Products are Effective Against Swine Flu?

Due to the recent rise in Swine Flu cases across the UK, we have put together this article to give you the facts and information about how effective our products are at killing the virus.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1. H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis. But this latest version is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine. Although the strain may have originated in pigs, it is now a wholly human disease.  It can be spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing.

How Do We Slow Down The Spread Of The Virus?

The best way to stop the flu virus spreading is to have good respiratory and hand hygiene. This means sneezing into a tissue and quickly putting it into a bin. Wash your hands and work surfaces regularly and thoroughly to kill the virus.

Which Products On The Market Kill Swine Flu?

There are many products on the market which can kill swine flu. Most of these contain Triclosan, Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) and Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC).  Based on official test data these chemicals have been found to effective at the following concentrations:

Name %
Triclosan 0.3
Isopropyl alcohol /IPA 60
Didecyldimethylammonium chloride / DDAC 0.05

Which Mistral Cleaning Products Contain These Ingredients?

Bellow we have listed the range of products which are effective against Swine Flu.  They provide a varied choice to meet different customer requirements within different environments.

Name Contains % Contains
Alcohol Hand Gel IPA, Triclosan 70/0.3
Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Spray IPA 70
Natural Antibacterial Soap Triclosan 0.3
Odourfresh Disinfectant DDAC 9
Hand Sanitising Wipes IPA 70
Hand Sanitising Foam DDAC 0.5
Hygena Bactericidal Soap Triclosan 0.5
Hygena Plus Bactericidal Soap Triclosan 1

Which Mistral Products Are Right For You?

Alcohol Hand Gel

A specialised product for sanitising hands and skin without the need for water in a handy to use gel form.  Containing high grade alcohol, it evaporates quickly from the skin and requires no rinsing.

For sanitising hands apply enough to ensure complete coverage of all parts including between fingers and around nails. Rub gently and allow to air-dry.

Available in: 500ml, 1L, 5L, 1000L

Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Spray

A specialised product for sanitising hands and skin without the need for water in a handy to use spray form.  Containing high grade alcohol, it evaporates quickly from the skin and requires no rinsing.

For sanitising hands spray enough to ensure complete coverage of all parts including between fingers and around nails. Rub gently and allow to air-dry.

Available in: 125ml, 250ml, 1L, 5L

Natural Antibacterial Soap

A non-perfumed, bactericidal hand cleanser, which is free from dyes and fragrance it provides a highly effective skin cleaner which will not irritate the skin even with frequent washing

Apply a small amount of soap to the skin and rub gently until soiling has dissolved. Rinse off and dry the skin thoroughly.

Available in: 500ml, 5L

Odourfresh Pet Disinfectant

A powerful quaternary based cleaner, disinfectant and deodoriser. It effectively destroys a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses at their source. It kills odours and leaves a fresh fragrance.

For general use as an effective cleaner, deodoriser and disinfectant dilute at rate of 1: 30 to 100 with water. Apply by spraying, mopping, wiping or fogging.  For disinfection of feeding bowls etc use dilution of 1:100 and rinse thoroughly with clean water. For foot baths and disinfection mats make up fresh solutions regularly with a dilution of 1:50.

Available in: 1L, 5L, 20L, 25L, 200L, 1000L

Odourfresh Care Disinfectant

A powerful cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer, it effectively destroys a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses at their source. It kills odours and leaves a wonderfully fresh fragrance.

For general use as an effective cleaner, deodorizer and disinfectant dilute at rate of 1: 10 to 100 with water. Apply by spraying, mopping or fogging. Wipe surface and allow to air dry.

Available in: 1L, 5L, 20L, 25L, 200L, 1000L

Hand Sanitizing Wipes

An alcohol based anti-bacterial wipe for general cleaning and disinfecting.  Non-tainting, non-fragranced and non-staining, but highly effective and safe to use on all hard surfaces, equipment, hands etc.

Pull wipe from top of tub at a 45 degree angle. Wipe surface until soiling has been removed and allow to air dry. A second application may be necessary if soiling is heavy.

Available in: 500 sheets, 200 Sheets

Hand Sanitizing Foam

A specialised product for sanitising hands and skin without the need for water in a handy-to-use foam.  As well as killing bacteria etc the product protects for up to several hours against re-infection. This product is also safe for children to carry around as it contains no alcohol.

Apply one pump to clean hands. Rub hands lightly until dry. No rinse necessary.

Available in: 65ml, 600ml, 5L

Hygena Plus Bactericidal Soap

Anti-bacterial hand soap formulated with mild cleansing agents, emollient and Triclosan bactericide and free from dyes and fragrance it provides a highly effective skin cleaner which will not irritate the skin even with frequent washing.

Apply a small amount of soap to the skin and rub gently until soiling has dissolved. Rinse off and dry the skin thoroughly.

Available in: 500ml, 1L, 5L

Are Electronic Cigarettes Better Than Real Cigarettes?

What is an electronic cigarette?

An electronic cigarette, e-cigarette or personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine or non-nicotine vaporized solution. It is an alternative to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. In addition to purported nicotine delivery, this vapour also provides a flavour and physical sensation similar to that of inhaled tobacco smoke, while no smoke or combustion is actually involved in its operation.
An electronic cigarette takes the form of some manner of elongated tube, though many are designed to resemble the outward appearance of real smoking products, like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Another common design is the “pen-style”, so named for its visual resemblance to a ballpoint pen. Most electronic cigarettes are reusable devices with replaceable and refillable parts. A number of disposable electronic cigarettes have also been developed.

How does it work?

In automatic models, when a user inhales using the device, air flow is detected by a sensor, which activates a heating element that vaporizes a flavoured liquid solution stored in the mouthpiece. On manual models, the user must press a button to activate the heating element to produce vapour which is then inhaled by the user. On most models an LED on the opposite end of the device is also activated during inhalation, which serves as an indicator of use.

Mouthpiece (“cartridge”)
The mouthpiece is a small disposable plastic cup-like piece affixed to the end of the tube. Inside the mouthpiece is a smaller plastic cup which holds an absorbent material that is saturated with a flavoured liquid solution that may contain nicotine. This inner cup is made such that air is able to flow around it and through a hole in the end of the outer piece; this is necessary for the device to provide the ability for suction to move the vapour into the user’s mouth. The mouthpiece is referred to in the industry as a “cartridge”. When the liquid in the cartridge has been depleted, it can either be refilled by the user or replaced with another pre-filled cartridge.

Heating element (“atomizer”)
The heating element serves to vaporize the liquid in the mouthpiece so that it can be inhaled. This component is referred to in the industry as an “atomizer”. Atomizers have a finite life of about one month (on average) and are one of the recurring expenses associated with electronic cigarettes. Some models combine an atomizer and pre-filled disposable component referred to as a “cartomizer”.

Battery and electronics

Most electronic cigarettes employ a lithium-ion rechargeable battery to power the heating element. Battery life varies depending on the battery type and size, frequency of use, and operating environment. Many different battery charger types are available, such as wall outlet, car, and USB chargers. The battery is generally the largest component of an electronic cigarette.

Some electronic cigarettes employ an electronic airflow sensor to automatically activate the heating element upon inhalation, while other models require the user to press a button while inhaling. Various other electronic circuits are usually employed as well, such as a timed cut-off switch to prevent overheating and a coloured LED to signal activation of the device and also to mimic the glow of a cigarette’s end tip.

Traditionally, electronic cigarettes have utilized an electronic means of activation. This involved the use of small tactile switches, vacuum switches and the related wiring and electronics necessary to run them. Users soon discovered these could be unreliable. With the advent of “mods”, several manufacturers have created all-mechanical electronic cigarettes that eliminate the use of any wiring, solder or electronics in an effort to improve switch reliability.

While some larger electronic cigarette models employ a user-replaceable standard-size battery cell, many models are too small to house a standard-size cell and instead require a proprietary component made by the electronic cigarette manufacturer. For those models, the battery and electronic components are housed within a single replaceable part, which is still generally referred to in the industry simply as the “battery”.

Nicotine and non-nicotine solution

Nicotine solutions sold separately for use in refillable cartridges are sometimes referred to as “e-liquid” or “e-juice”, and commonly contain some amount of flavouring, with hundreds of different flavours available. They consist of nicotine dissolved in propylene glycol (PG), which is a common food additive.
Solutions are also available in differing nicotine concentrations, to let the user decide the amount of nicotine to be taken in. Concentrations range from Zero Nicotine, low and midrange doses (6–8 mg/ml and 10–14 mg/ml respectively), to high and extra-high doses (16–18 mg/ml and 20–54 mg/ml respectively). The concentration ratings are often printed at the e-liquid bottle or cartridge, although the standard notation “mg/ml” often gets abbreviated to just “mg”.

Health Issues

Are electronic cigarettes safe? Even though, there is no smoke produced by an electronic cigarette, it still has nicotine, which is another harmful element in real cigarettes. Though, there is no conclusive study to prove the electronic cigarette health risks, long term inhalation of nicotine vapours can cause the following health problems. Nicotine can constrict arteries, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Nicotine overdose symptoms can in time result in high blood pressure, heart diseases, etc. The person may also become prone to stroke, GERD, peptic ulcer disease, etc.

Conventional cigarettes contain over 4000 harmful chemicals including:
Arsenic – Commonly used in rat poison, arsenic finds its way into cigarette smoke through some of the pesticides that are used in tobacco farming.
Cadmium – A toxic heavy metal that is used in batteries. Smokers typically have twice as much cadmium in their bodies as non-smokers.
Ammonia – Ammonia compounds are commonly used in cleaning products and fertilizers. Ammonia is also used to boost the impact of nicotine in manufactured cigarettes.
Carbon Monoxide – Present in car exhaust and is lethal in very large amounts. Cigarette smoke can contain high levels of carbon monoxide.
Hydrogen Cyanide – Used to kill people in the gas chambers in Nazi Germany during World War II. It can be found in cigarette smoke.

The only harmful chemical contained in electronic cigarettes is nicotine. So if you compare the two together although they cannot be certified to be 100% safe, the electronic cigarettes are the better alternative.

In short, electronic cigarettes are safe to some extent, especially, when compared to the conventional ones. However, studies are still underway regarding electronic cigarette health risks.

Is Borax about to be banned in the UK?

As you may have read in our previous post, Borax (aka Sodium Borate) is a chemical with a myriad of practical uses around the home.  However, speculation has been growing recently online that this helpful household product is soon to be reclassified as a dangerous substance and banned for sale in the EU and consequently the United Kingdom. On hearing this alarming news we set out to find out if there was any truth to these rumours and what the future really holds for Borax.

Current Legislation

Some light can be shed on this matter by looking at a piece of EU regulation called “Adaptations to Technical Progress”, specifically the 30th and 31st ATP’s.  In this legislation the group of chemicals known as Borates (including Borax) were reclassified as “Reprotoxic Category 2“.  This classification suggests that the product is harmful to the reproductive functions of humans in high doses, and means the substance must carry the skull and crossbones symbol.  The reclassification came about because of a study carried out on pregnant rats who were exposed to high doses of borates [1].  The study suggests that Boric Acid is harmful when exposed regularly to concentrations of more that 5.5%.  For other Borates this limit may be higher depending on the amount of Boric Acid contained.

EU Law states that this reclassification of Borates must take place in each member state by 1st December 2010, however the reclassification itself does not restrict the sale of the substances.  What it means is that Borax is now on the list of Substances of Very High Concern for the REACH Regulation which was set up to protect the population from exposure to harmful substances.  REACH introduces a process in which those substances that are considered to pose an unacceptably high risk to human health and theenvironment may be removed from the market unless there is a justifiable need for them to remain.


The process for removing SVHC substances from the market can be briefly summarised as follows:
Identification as an SVHC
Entry onto the Candidate List
Prioritisation for Authorisation
Addition to the Annex XIV List of Substances subject to Authorisation

At each stage of this process, there is no certainty that a substance at one stage will necessarily proceed to the next, although if a substance completes the final stage, it will be potentially removed from the market for all uses that are not exempted or for which authorisations have not been granted.

Boric acid and disodium tetraborate salts have reached the second stage in this process. They were added to the Candidate List in June 2010. Entry onto the Candidate List places some legal obligations on suppliers of those substances, but it does not restrict their use in any way [2].

The Future

Whether or not Borax will make it to the end of the REACH process and become completely restricted is still very much uncertain. Until then it remains legal to buy and sell Borax provided that it is correctly labelled and packaged with the appropriate hazard warnings. You can buy Borax online here.  Even if Borates themselves are restricted in the future under REACH, exemptions will probably be made for certain applications [3].  For example the concentration of boric acid used in laundry detergents is much less than the limit imposed by EU classification. Even if Borates become illegal for the general public to buy, other alternatives exist such as sodium percarbonate which is an effective product for cleaning and bleaching.

Check back soon for further updates on this issue.

[1] http://www.mtib.gov.my/techalert/3-2007/BORATESIssue.pdf
[2] http://www.ueil.org/health_environment/documents/boric-jul10-rev02.pdf
[3] http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/chemicals/files/docs_studies/final_report_borates_en.pdf