The Health and Safety Authority has launched an inspection campaign to make sure that retailer and distributors are only selling liquid laundry detergent capsules, or ‘liquitabs’, that comply with the EU-wide safety measures that came into effect on 1 January.
The new legal requirements were introduced in 2014 as a response by the European Commission to the high number of exposures involving young children being reported to poisons centres across Europe.
A transitional period up until 31 December 2015 was put in place for products that were already on the market, and to give manufacturers, distributors and retailers time to comply with the change in regulations.
The new rules mean that ‘liquitabs’ must be in opaque packaging that is difficult for children to open. Also, an aversive agent (such a bittering agent) must be used on the tabs themselves, to deter children from putting them in their mouths.
Furthermore, the soluble packaging must be able to hold in liquid content for at least 30 seconds when placed in water at 20°C, and be capable of resisting mechanical compressive strength of at least 300N under standard test conditions.
Yvonne Mullooly, Senior Inspector with the HSA explained that, "These products are small and colourful, so children can mistake these capsules for toys or sweets.
"Changes to the labelling and packaging regulations were introduced to make it more difficult for children to see and access the product and prevent accidental exposure."
She went on to say that the HSA is now asking retailers and distributors to check their existing laundry capsule stocks, to make sure that the products on their shelves are compliant with the new rules.
According to the HSA, there have been over 900 incidents involving liquitabs reported to Ireland’s National Poisons Information Centre in the last five years. The majority of these cases involved children less than three years old.
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.