A thank you from Gina Mercier at Bitrex | Bitrex - Keeping children safe
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A thank you from Gina Mercier at Bitrex

Any of us involved in safety know that sometimes what you really need is a good regulation. We all know the importance of education, awareness and common sense, but in the end sometimes you need the long arm of the law – or at least a central regulator to step in. Levelling the playing field, setting the parameters, use whatever cliché you like, generally speaking, regulation and legislation do the trick.

Which is why I’m personally delighted that the European Union has announced that from June 1st it will enforce a set of measures designed to make laundry liquitabs much safer for children.

It’s welcome news for campaigners who have worked tirelessly to draw attention to the menace of the toddler-attractive liquitabs.

At Bitrex, we’ve been involved in a number of activities to highlight the hazards, and few parents can now be unaware of the dangers. Safe storage and staying alert when using the products is still the core advice, but this new regulation for the industry tackles the issue at product level.

So it’s welcome news for manufacturers too who all have to step in line – not just the pioneers who have already introduced the measures in their products like Tesco.

From June 1st 2015 manufacturers will have to ensure that:

•   The soluble coating of the liquitab contains an ‘aversive agent’ in a safe concentration which is repellent to children within six seconds. This could well be a bittering agent such as Bitrex®.

•   The soluble coating is stronger and retains its liquid for a minimum of 
30 seconds in water at 20 degrees Celsius.

•   The product packaging displays warnings about the dangers.

No apologies for the technical language of the European Union! For scientists it has to be precise!

So, never say things can’t change. It won’t stop child poisoning across the board, but it will help in a crucial and growing area of concern.

Some of the evidence that we at Bitrex made available to the manufacturers’ consultation groups who were involved behind the scenes in this move were the petitions that you have helped to fill up over the years with thousands of your signatures. We cited this as parental demand for interventions. As one of our partner retailers might say “every little signature helps”.

And so here it is: one small, but important step to safer kitchens and safer children. And you all helped.

Thank you