Even though cleaning products – which pose potentially fatal dangers to children round the year but especially before Passover – are required to meet official standards, some unsupervised products enter the country, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday.
The weeks before the Jewish festival of freedom are the most dangerous for young children, as cases of poisoning, drowning in pails of water and other incidents are most common – especially when the pre-holiday school holiday begins.
Grish Deitsch, who is in charge of standards at the ministry, called on parents and childcare workers to be especially careful to keep chemicals out of the reach of young children.
Oven cleaners, detergents, washing powders and liquids, and other cleaning materials are usually toxic.
Colorful laundry and dishwashing gels are sold in plastic packets that look enticing to children.
Never mix different cleaners together (especially acidic bleaches with alkaline ones).
Never store chemicals in soft drink bottles or other food-storage containers familiar to children. And never leave a pail of water around young children who could drown in only a few centimeters of water.
Deitsch said that, like every year, ministry inspectors are going out to seize cleaning products that don’t meet standards, due either to their contents or to packages that make it too easy for children to touch them. Samples have already been taken from products in Beersheba, Ofakim, Hadera and Hod Hasharon.
Consumers should examine packages of cleaning products to make sure that they are strong and have a strong closure.
When the products are toxic, they must have a childproof closure.
Packages of cleaning products must be printed with at least one symbol indicating those that are harmful to the environment; corrosive; poisonous; harmful; inflammable; or explosive. Instructions for use of the product must also be prominent and clear.
The name of the manufacturer and its address and phone number must be displayed, as well as the date of manufacture, expiration date and identifying code. All of the above information must appear in Hebrew, Deitsch said.