Media Release: Double welcome for report highlighting dangers of cleaning products

THE Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and Macfarlan Smith, manufacturer of bittering agent Bitrex, welcome the publication of the National Poisons Information Service’s (NPIS) annual report, which this year highlights the dangers of fabric-cleaning liquitabs.

Says a spokesperson: “Packaging for these products, also known as liquid laundry capsules, is rarely child-resistant and the plastic sachets can easily be punctured by curious children attracted by their bright colour and strange ‘squishy’ texture.

“However, liquid detergent poses a real danger if swallowed, with symptoms that can include severe vomiting and abdominal pain, drowsiness and in some reported cases the depression of the central nervous system .

“The NPIS received over 600 calls from health professionals about concentrated laundry capsules in 2009-10, with most cases involving children under five, and 80 per cent relating to children swallowing some of the contents. In its annual report, published last week, the NPIS called for greater awareness of the dangers liquid laundry capsules can present.”

Katrina Phillips, chief executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust, said: “Accidents often happen when parents are taken by surprise.

“This report is helpful because it warns parents that a seemingly harmless household product can pose a risk to children.

“And it’s easy to see how attractive the colour and texture of a liquitab can be to a young child. Our advice is: it takes just a few seconds to move those squidgy detergent capsules lurking under your sink to a higher cupboard, away from curious little fingers and mouths.”

The spokesperson added: The addition of a bittering agent, such as Bitrex, can make household products more difficult for children to swallow.

“Bitrex has been added to many household products, as well as to other potential poisons such as anti-freeze and garden chemicals. However, very few liquitabs contain bittering agents like Bitrex.”

Cameron Smith of Macfarlan Smith, added: ‘We would urge parents to look out for products carrying the Bitrex logo, any product displaying the logo has been thoroughly tested to ensure that it is almost impossible for children to swallow.

“We are working closely with the nation’s retailers to help protect as many children as possible from potentially dangerous household products.”


Contact Ali O’Neale Cloudline PR: 07889016094/ 0131 553 8660

Notes for Editors:


Denatonium Benzoate was discovered in 1958 by Macfarlan Smith and registered under the Bitrex trademark in the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA later the same year. First used in denaturing alcohol – making it legally unfit for consumption – it is now added to a wide range of household cleaners, pesticides, and DIY and automotive products. Since being approved in the UK and US in the early 1960s, Bitrex has been officially recognised as the denaturant of choice in more than 40 countries.

UK sales began in 1960, and by 1963, customers included I.C.I, Rentokil and Avon Products. The first use of Bitrex simply as a taste aversive was in a cream to prevent tail-biting in pigs.

Bitrex® has been used in a variety of applications since. One of the main uses is as a human aversive. Due to its overwhelming bitter taste, it is ideal for helping prevent accidental poisonings. Many supermarkets in the UK and Europe use the Bitrex® logo on their products as a selling point to their customers.

Child Accident Prevention Trust:

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is a leading charity working to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. It wants to see children leading active, healthy lives – not ‘wrapped in cotton wool’. It is the national organiser of Child Safety Week. For more information visit

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Cloudline PR. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Ali O’Neale
Phone: 07889016094/ 0131 553 8660