INEOS has confirmed that its County Durham plant has started producing hand sanitiser which will be used at hospitals and homes within a few days.
The site in Newton Aycliffe, which is owned by one of the world's largest manufacturing companies, is now capable of producing 1 million hand sanitisers a month.
Hand to mouth contamination is one of the main ways that the coronavirus infects people and there is a critical shortage of hand sanitisers across the UK and Europe.
INEOS is focusing on meeting the needs of front line medical and care services as well as making “pocket bottle” hand sanitisers available for personal use.
All of the hand sanitiser products will be produced to World Health Organisation specifications.
INEOS is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol, producing almost 1 million tonnes.
The company is already running these plants flat out and have been diverting more of this product to essential medical use, including in the new INEOS factories.
INEOS's products are used in the production of essential healthcare products from rubber gloves, to PVC saline drips, syringes, ventilators, medical tubing.
Its products purify the public’s drinking water. It produces raw materials for soap, phenol for aspirin and paracetamol, and its acetonitrile is being used in pharmaceutical analysis essential in procedures necessary to find a vaccine.