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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
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Call for industry to tackle dangers of detergent to children

Labour TD Ciara Conway said she is examining what can be done to ensure children are not at risk of danger from these pods.

A warning label is attached to a package of Tide laundry detergent packets in Houston, Texas.
A warning label is attached to a package of Tide laundry detergent packets in Houston, Texas.
Image: Pat Sullivan/AP/Press Association Images

THE GOVERNMENT MAY be forced to step in and regulate the sale of detergent capsules if the industry does not do enough to prevent injury to children from the items.

Labour TD Ciara Conway said that after being contacted by the Consumer Show on RTÉ, which featured a segment on its show about the dangers of detergent capsules, she is committed to making the industry act on the issue.

She said if industry doesn’t act, government may be forced to act to tackle the issue.

Liquid detergent capsules are growing in popularity – they’re handy, compact, mess-free and usually very brightly coloured. Their design and size makes them attractive to toddlers in particular. However the liquid inside is incredibly harmful, and has been the cause of a significant number of very severe eye injuries in young children.

She added that several brands of pods contain alcohol, which, combined with other ingredients, can destroy corneal tissue.

There are incidences of up to 80 per cent of the corneal epithelium being burnt off. Children could be left with eye damage for life, and this is something that most parents aren’t aware of. The products are labelled as irritants, because the tissue can regenerate in 21 days, but children can face a lifetime of impaired vision and discomfort.

She said that after being approached by the Consumer Show on RTE, “I have to admit that I am shocked at the severity and the scale of this problem, and I am examining what the government can do to tackle this”.

Concerns

Deputy Conway said that some manufacturers have said they will improve labelling and packaging, but she is “concerned that this doesn’t go far enough. The Irish Cosmetics, Detergents & Allied Products Association has promised new changes to packaging and /or the tabs in response to growing concerns, through a stewardship programme.”

She said that if there isn’t a significant improvement in this area, the government may be forced to step in and regulate.

I am raising the matter with my colleagues and will be investigating further to see how and what way we can tackle the situation.

The deputy has said she will put a motion under topical issues debate to ask what can be done about this, and is believed the issue may also be discussed by industry members before an Oireachtas Committee.

Read: Campaign highlights dangers of hair straighteners to children>

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