AKRON, Ohio – GOJO Industries, the makers of Purell hand sanitizer and other hygiene products, announced Tuesday that it is ramping up production to meet higher demands prompted by concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus.
The Akron-based company, which typically increases production this time of year to deal with the flu, became aware of the Wuhan coronavirus in December and stepped up production in January when the virus began making international headlines, spokeswoman Samantha Williams said.
“We are seeing a substantial increase in demand,” Williams said. “We have experienced several demand surges in the past during other outbreaks, and this is on the higher end of the spectrum but not unprecedented.”
Hand sanitizers are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the agency does not allow any manufacturers to make claims about their products’ ability to combat the coronavirus or any virus.
Surface disinfectants, on the other hand, are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which permits manufacturers to make claims about the effectiveness of products against viruses.
“While COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, under the EPA’s Emerging Pathogen guidance, our Purell Surface Spray can be used to kill COVID-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces when used in accordance with the directions and a 1-minute contact time,” Williams said.
Williams said orders of the company’s products have increased “very significantly” in the past several days. “We have added shifts and have team members working overtime – in accordance with our plans for situations like this.”
The greatest increase in demand has been for Purell hand sanitizer, Purell hand sanitizing wipes and Purell surface spray, Williams said. The demand has come from across GOJO’s markets including health-care and food service areas, but has been especially high on the retail and online side.
Williams said GOJO does not set retail prices for its products, and is not aware of any authorized retailers price-gouging.
“We feel strongly that there is no place for price-gouging, especially during times of elevated public concern,” Williams said.
GOJO employs about 2,500 people and manufactures Purell products at facilities in Wooster, Cuyahoga Falls and France.