Navy shipyard starts making its own hand sanitizer

Written by Nick Blenkey
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PSNS & IMF Laboratory Division chemists Anthony Painter and Deniz Ferrin made hand sanitizer March 20, 2020, inside the shipyard's chem lab for use throughout the shipyard. (PSNS & IMF photo by Scott Hansen)

NAVSEA reports that Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility has started producing isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer in its accredited laboratory. It is scheduled to be available in work areas throughout the shipyard starting next week.

While the solution contains the appropriate alcohol content consistent with FDA, CDC, and WHO guidance, and is consistent with commercially-available options, hand washing is still the preferred option for workers to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

According to Cody Matheson, the deputy director of Code 106, the Environment, Safety and Health Office, who spearheaded the effort, Captain Diana Wolfson, commander, PSNS & IMF, wanted to put into action some of the ideas and feedback that had been provided directly from the waterfront.

The Code 134 lab personnel, led by Deniz Ferrin, have quickly set up production capacity, while also ensuring the product meets the specifications set forth by the FDA and CDC.

“While the nationwide shortage of commercially-available hand sanitizer is apparent to anyone shopping, well, anywhere, finding the basic ingredients to produce hand sanitizer is also becoming a challenge.

“We have enough supplies as of right now to make 150 bottles of 16-ounce pump dispensable solution,” Matheson said.

This effort is only a stopgap measure, says NAVSEA, and the command will go back to purchasing commercially-produced hand sanitizer when it becomes available. Until then, the command will continue to work together as a team to overcome challenges as they pop up.

There is no word on whether the shipyard will find a way of producing its own toilet paper.

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