Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anna White and Ginger Hall last March launched Protection for Humanity as a result of the impending lack of (personal protective equipment) availability on the Big Island. Protection for Humanity (PFH) is the first all women-owned PPE company in Hawaii to manufacture FDA-approved sanitizers, specializing in hand sanitizer for both personal and industrial use.
Keeping guests and islanders safe is their primary concern.
“We saw a need to jump into this supply chain when we noticed the majority of available hand sanitizers were utilizing sub-standard and hidden toxic ingredients. These sanitizers were suddenly appearing on every shelf and at the front entrances of stores and businesses without the stores and employees even realizing the potential negative side effects of repetitive usage throughout the day. In some situations tech-grade products were being used on hands, which could be quite harmful to put directly onto your skin or inhale,” Anna and Ginger said.
The women knew they could manufacture hand sanitizer that would meet their needs for a usable, safe, FDA-approved, and “as natural as can be” sanitizer that would be safe to put directly onto skin. They also found a way to mitigate the extremely strong and unpleasant alcohol scent associated with the denatured alcohol used in hand sanitizer.
“We got a huge education on what sanitizer is and isn’t, and it was fairly disturbing” explains Anna. “FDA and Tech grade is like night and day. Gel and spray sanitizers have important differences, and the education of how to use this stuff was seriously lacking,” said Anna, who is a consultant on the toxicity and harmful ingredients found in commercial sanitizer products.
Working with Karen Rubio, a Professional Certified Essential Oil Specialist, the company developed a fresh citrus scent solution using 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. PFH is even working with distillers who re-tooled manufacturing facilities to produce hand sanitizers to help keep “products from smelling like cocktails.”
“We combined our research with our existing safe sanitizer and our naturally scented end result has been a huge success. We enjoy seeing our customers spray it all around, wherever they are, as we observe them creating their own personal Hawaiian ForceField, hence the name,” Anna said.
In May 2020, Protection for Humanity became an FDA-approved manufacturer of sanitizer in both liquid and gel formats. The product line Hawaiian ForceField is a naturally scented, 80% strength liquid hand sanitizer and 70% gel that uses only organic, natural, nontoxic ingredients with a 99.9% kill rate for bacteria and germs that cause illness including the coronavirus.
In November, Protection for Humanity received a federal coronavirus relief act-funded Hawaii PPE Supply Chain Grant, administered by INNOVATE Hawaii, a program of the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation and the Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism.
“This organization came to our rescue with the support and acknowledgment of how important it is to keep the PPE supply chain sufficient for our state,” said Ginger. “With this assistance we will be able to produce even more safe sanitizer to keep our children, residents, guests, and businesses safe. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be selected to protect our beautiful Big Island and beyond.”
Know a Hometown Hero who should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.