The Department of Education issued a recall notice asking schools to stop using the defective products immediately.
More than 50 sanitising products were recalled, meaning some schools were forced to close early on Friday as they had insufficient amounts of safe sanitiser.
The Department of Education ordered “their full withdrawal and replacement before Monday morning” after issues were found with the registration of the products.
It was found that the ViraPro branded sanitiser contained methanol instead of ethanol. The Department of Agriculture has advised the public to stop using the company’s products.
Without enough ethanol in the products, its sanitising ability is ineffective, while the methanol in the product can cause nausea, dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory tract irritation and headaches.
The products were supplied by nine companies, which are Critical Healthcare, Workwear Experts, Reach Group, Charles Hughes Ltd, Shaw Scientific, JBS Group, Aquila Bioscience, Nugent Safety, and Lennox.
The HSE ordered almost 3.8 million units of ViraPro products but had only received 3.1 million bottles of sanitiser as of yet, according to RTE News.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said a potential problem with the sanitiser was raised on the 25th September.
Revenue notified the department that the European Anti-Fraud Office contacted them about the importation of sanitiser from Turkey to Ireland from the same supplier of a product tested in Denmark which had excessive levels of methanol.
Minister McConalogue said the results of the department’s tests were fully validated on the 16th October, according to The Irish Times.
The Department of Education said it was first made aware of the issue with the products on Tuesday. However, schools were not told to stop using the products until late Thursday.
A Sinn Féin justice spokesperson said that while it was not the Government’s fault that the ViraPro hand sanitiser was faulty, it should have acted sooner to recall the product, according to RTE News.
INTO General Secretary John Boyle told RTE News “It is very concerning that many of the products on the approved list of resources have now been deemed inappropriate.
“That this information has come to light during the mid-term break is very unsatisfactory. School leaders and boards of management needed this break to recharge after an incredibly stressful nine weeks.”
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