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Director General Of Health Privileged Statement

Director General Of Health Privileged Statement Under Section 77 Of The Toxic Substances Act 1979

THE public are warned that small children who consume certain water colour paints produced by Australian manufacturer, Educational Colours Pty Ltd, may be at risk from high levels of barium, Director General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi said today.

Dr Poutasi says small children often put all sorts of objects in their mouths and products designed for use by children should be as safe as possible.

The warning has been issued, after testing by Educational Colours Pty Ltd indicated that relatively small quantities of some its water colour paints contain high levels of barium - a heavy metal.

The colours, which initial assessments suggest breach the Toxic Substances Regulations 1983 as they contain barium in excess of the regulatory threshold are:

Aquacryl Warm Red Aquacryl Light Green Liquitemp Brilliant Red Rainbow Crimson (not known to be in NZ)

The Company, has advised the Ministry of Health that it has conducted extensive tests on its range of paints, and no other colours exceed the regulatory threshold.

The paints are water colours available in 75ml (semi-liquid), 500ml (liquid) and 2 litre (liquid) and are available through standard retail outlets. They are widely used in schools and early childhood centres throughout New Zealand .

The symptoms of barium poisoning include: salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, convulsive tremors, slow-hard pulse and increased blood pressure. It may also cause bleeding into the gastro-intestinal tract and kidneys as well as muscular weakness and paralysis.

Parents or caregivers of anyone who becomes ill after consuming paint should contact their doctor.

Although the Ministry has not received any reports of illness to date, a warning has been issued as a precaution.

Educational Colours Pty Ltd has voluntarily withdrawn the water colour paints containing the high levels of barium from the market. Dr Poutasi said anyone who has the water colours affected, should return them immediately to the shop where they were purchased, or contact their local public health service.

For further information contact the duty health protection officers in your area.

END

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