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Warning over dishwashing powder poisoning

26 January 2005

Warning over dishwashing powder poisoning

The Ministry of Health is warning parents to keep dishwashing powders out of reach of children after a spate of cases where children were hospitalised suffering horrific burns.

Five young children have suffered burns to their throats and upper airways after swallowing dishwashing powder in recent months.

Dishwashing powders can contain toxic and corrosive alkaline which can cause serious burns.

The requirement for child resistant packaging on dishwashing powder is currently voluntary, however steps are in place to make it mandatory.

Dr Mark Jacobs who is the Director of Public Health says "Any case of child poisoning is a serious concern as it can lead to life long problems for that child. The best way to avoid children suffering in this way is to keep products containing poisons out of their reach."

"I've written to all manufacturers of dishwashing powder alerting them to these cases of poisoning and if they are not already doing so, urging them to package their product in child resistant packaging that meets the New Zealand Standard on Child Resistant Packages."

"But parents should not be lulled into a false sense of security if the products in their homes do have child resistant packaging, as child resistant does not mean child proof. You still need to make sure a child can't get at the poison," he said.

ENDS

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