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Reed diffuser toxicity [Abstract]

Crandon, K.C., Davies, J.T.D. and Thompson, John Paul 2010. Reed diffuser toxicity [Abstract]. Clinical Toxicology 48 (3) , p. 285. 10.3109/15563651003740240

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Abstract

Background: Air fresheners have become increasingly popular over recent years with marketing aimed at removing odours, refreshing the air and creating a pleasant ambient mood. Their popularity has resulted in a multi-million pound market with new products continually being released. Air fresheners come in many forms including sprays, plug-ins, gels and candles. Due to their wide use and availability, ingestion of these products is common with hundreds of cases being reported to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) annually. Whilst many air-fresheners contain potentially harmful products, they are usually difficult to ingest in large amounts and serious effects are therefore uncommon. Recently however, the NPIS has seen the emergence of a new type of air freshener which has led to concern. Reed diffusers, although available for many years, have seen a massive surge in popularity in 2009. They are usually composed of a bottle filled with approximately 100 - 500 mL of scented liquid delivered to the room by “wicking” reeds made of bamboo or similar. Some also contain decorative items such as beads. The liquid is easily accessible due to the open neck of the bottle and therefore has potential to be ingested in large quantities. The ingredients of reed diffusers vary dramatically. A small sample of different products revealed a contents list which can include 90% essential oils; 85% glycol ethers; 80% ethanol or 78% hydrocarbons.  Case series: From January to November 2009 the NPIS (Cardiff) has received 27 calls involving reed diffusers. These all involved young children aged between 8 months and 4 years with an average age of 21 months. One enquiry involved eye contact, four involved ingestion of beads or pearls from within the unit and 22 involved ingestion of the liquid itself, most of these cases involving unknown amounts.  Conclusion:  These products are of serious concern due to the ease with which young children may ingest significant quantities of potentially life threatening compounds. It is essential that health professionals are aware that the reed diffuser type of air freshener is not as innocuous as those with which we are more familiar and that all cases should be treated as potentially serious.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: 2010 International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, 11-14 May 2010, Bordeaux, France
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
ISSN: 0731-3810
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:14
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/18504

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