With the approach of the festival of Passover, the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Beterem organization for children’s safety and the with The Israel Poison Information Center at Rambam, are publicizing the rules for the safe use of cleaning a
According to data from the Israel Poison Information Center at Rambam, in the year 2012, there was again an increase in exposures to poisons, as in the previous year. In 2011, approximately 45% of exposures to poisons before Passover were attributed to children up to the age of 6.
In the week before Passover, there was a 52% increase in exposures to poisons in the overall population and a 39% increase in children up to the age of 6 (338 exposures to poisons), as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.
Every year prior to Passover, an increase is recorded in injuries from cleaning agents and chemicals. It arises from the data of the Israel Poison Information Center at Rambam that during the week before Passover, the number of exposures to poisons in children up to the age of 6 years accounts for 45% of the total number of exposures to poisons. The data indicate that also in 2012, in the week before Passover, there was a similar increase in exposures to poisons for the overall population and a 39% increase for children up to the age of 6, as compared to the annual average of exposures.
The data also show that 50% of exposures to poisons in the week before Passover were attributed to the involvement of chemicals, and 39% were attributed to medications. For children up to the age of 6, chemicals were responsible for 50% of exposures to poisons, and medications were responsible for 41%.
Approximately 80% of exposures to chemicals in the week before Passover, both in the general population and in the population of children up to the age of 6, were due to exposure to domestic cleaning and pesticide agents, mainly bleach, detergents, irritant gases, alkalies, descalers, insecticides, acids and petroleum distillates.
During the pre-Passover period, mainly during the week before Passover, there is a marked increase in the incidence of poisoning in children. The majority of these cases involve children under the age of 6 who swallow cleaning agents and various chemicals, kerosene and medications.
This recurs every year when preparations for Passover are at their peak. Thorough cleaning, scrubbing the home, painting, cleaning and polishing kitchen utensils and the kitchen open the door to dangers. These activities are performed using cleaning agents and chemicals, paint and pesticides. The substances are often found in open packages and within the reach of children. Medicine cabinets at home are also tidied and revamped, and many medications find their way to the garbage.
Since this when schools and kindergartens are on holiday and children are at home, often without proper supervision, children are at risk for domestic accidents, primarily poisoning. Safety in the Use of Cleaning Agents and Chemicals:
- Cleaning agents should be placed out of the reach of children – in a high place or locked up. Straight away after finishing using them, make sure to return them to their place and to close the container, in order to prevent the swallowing or inhalation of toxic substances, and burns.
- It is recommended to purchase cleaning agents and medications in containers that are difficult for children to open.
- Do not mix cleaning agents, particularly not acid and bleach. Such mixtures release toxic gas and can be extremely dangerous if inhaled.
- Make sure to retain cleaning agents and medications in their original packaging, closing the container. Do not store cleaning agents in drink bottles, even if the bottles are marked “poisonous substance” – toddlers cannot read.
- Do not store cleaning agents close to food products or in drinking cups.
- Carefully reading the product’s instructions for use prior to using it, and careful execution of the instructions, would benefit adults and children alike.
In any case of exposure or suspected exposure to a toxic substance, seek medical advice or contact the the Israel Poison Information Center, Rambam, at telephone number 04-8541900.