Report Confirms Liquitabs Poison Risk Alert

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The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and Macfarlan Smith, manufacturer of bittering agent Bitrex, welcome the publication of the National Poisons Information Service’s (NPIS) Annual Report, which this year highlights the dangers of fabric cleaning liquitabs.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and Macfarlan Smith, manufacturer of bittering agent Bitrex, welcome the publication of the National Poisons Information Service’s (NPIS) Annual Report, which this year highlights the dangers of fabric cleaning liquitabs.

Packaging for these products, also known as liquid laundry capsules, is rarely child-resistant and the plastic sachets can easily be punctured by curious children attracted by their bright colour and strange ‘squishy’ texture. However liquid detergent poses a real danger if swallowed, with symptoms that can include severe vomiting and abdominal pain, drowsiness and in some reported cases the depression of the central nervous system.

The NPIS received over 600 calls from health professionals about concentrated laundry capsules in 2009-10, with most cases involving children under 5, and 80% relating to children swallowing some of the contents. In its Annual Report, published last week, the NPIS called for greater awareness of the dangers liquid laundry capsules can present.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust, said:

“Accidents often happen when parents are taken by surprise. This report is helpful because it warns parents that a seemingly harmless household product can pose a risk to children. And it’s easy to see how attractive the colour and texture of a liquitab can be to a young child. Our advice is: it takes just a few seconds to move those squidgy detergent capsules lurking under your sink to a higher cupboard, away from curious little fingers and mouths.”

The addition of a bittering agent, such as Bitrex, can make household products more difficult for children to swallow. Bitrex has been added to many household products, as well as to other potential poisons such as anti-freeze and garden chemicals. However, very few liquitabs contain bittering agents like Bitrex.

Cameron Smith of Macfarlan Smith, added:

‘We would urge parents to look out for products carrying the Bitrex logo, any product displaying the logo has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it is almost impossible for children to swallow. We are working closely with the nation’s retailers to help protect as many children as possible from potentially dangerous household products.”

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