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Alcohol, paracetamol top âpandemic poisonsâ
The groups issued the warning, coinciding with the observance of National Poisoning Prevention Week, which starts today.
Edd Gumban, file

Alcohol, paracetamol top ‘pandemic poisons’

Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology (PSCOT) and environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition have warned the public against common items at home, which could be poisonous to children.

The groups issued the warning, coinciding with the observance of National Poisoning Prevention Week, which starts today.

The PSCOT and EcoWaste cited data from the National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC), which identified isopropyl and ethyl alcohol, sodium hypochlorite or disinfecting bleach, paracetamol, kerosene, iron salts, ibuprofen and cell batteries as among the top agents for pediatric poisoning cases in 2020.

Alcohol and paracetamol have become household necessities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also included in the NPMCC’s list were pyrethroid, phenylephrine, silica gel, mefenamic acid, nami and clonazepam.

“Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, we advise every family to be aware of the potential hazards in their household and community and to take preventive measures that will protect everyone, especially children, from poisoning agents that can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed by the skin or splashed in the eye,” Carissa Dioquino-Maligaso, president of PSCOT and chairperson of the Philippine General Hospital Department of Neurosciences, said.

Thony Dizon, EcoWaste chemical safety campaigner, said children are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of poisonous substances because their body’s defense systems are still developing.

“They also have the tendency to explore their surroundings, smell, touch and put objects into their mouths. Children are unaware of the consequences of their action,” Dizon said.

The PSCOT and EcoWaste said there is also a growing concern on mass poisoning incidents.

The groups pointed out that people could be easily affected by poisons that spread quickly in the air, water or food sources.

The groups advised the public to patronize eco-friendly products that do not contain hazardous substances, be wary of precautionary warnings in product labels, return products to their proper storage immediately after use, never place poisonous items in beverage and food containers, and store food and potential poisons in separate cabinets.

The groups also reminded the public to keep medicines, bleach, cleaning and laundry products as well as e-cigarette liquid refills, insecticides, paints, varnishes and thinners and car maintenance materials out of children’s reach.

“Don’t allude to medicine as candy or chocolate that appeals to a child,” they said.

The PSCOT and EcoWaste said children’s toys must be washed regularly to lessen the risk of ingesting lead-containing dust and other environmental pollutants.

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