VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Demo video FALSELY claims rum, bleach mix makes ‘rubbing alcohol’

An instructional video on Facebook (FB) of a woman wearing a Department of Health (DOH) vest showing viewers how to mix rum with bleach to make rubbing alcohol is false and unsafe.

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) and the manufacturers of the materials used in the video have issued advisories warning that the concoction is not a substitute for disinfectant.

ICP, the official organization of registered chemists and chemical technicians in the country, said in a March 30 post on its FB page that while the change in the color of rum when mixed with bleach can be “mesmerizing,” it is not the proper way of producing rubbing alcohol for use as disinfectant.

It also warned in another post that the mixture generates a chemical called chloroform, “which can be dangerous and poisonous when inhaled or applied on skin.”

The spurious post, published March 25 and which continues to rake in views nearly a month later, showed the woman who giddily demonstrated the false procedure pour her mixture of Tanduay rum and Zonrox bleach on her hands and those of her peers after the rum’s brown color turned clear. It has been viewed over 881,000 times and has been shared by more than 51,000 people.

She can be visibly seen wearing a DOH vest and ID lanyard.

Tanduay Distillers, Inc., which manufactures the alcohol used in the fallacious clip, issued March 23 a statement via its official FB page saying the concoction “WILL NOT produce a viable disinfectant” against COVID-19 and may cause serious harm.

Similarly, Green Cross Inc., maker of the Zonrox bleach and a distributor of isopropyl alcohol issued an advisory on March 25 in FB telling the public to “not follow or believe the video.”

The untrue FB video continues to circulate on social media as the country combats the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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