Health Canada probes re­ports of ba­bies burned by sun­screen

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

TORONTO — Health Canada says it’s look­ing into three re­cent com­plaints of ba­bies al­legedly be­ing burned by Ba­nana Boat sun­screen prod­ucts.

Spokesper­son Renelle Briand says the three re­ports were all made within the past month and came from mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions in Canada.

The most re­cent re­port in­volves a Montreal mother al­leg­ing her son de­vel­oped blis­ters on his face af­ter she ap­plied a Ba­nana Boat prod­uct. Briand says the other com­plaints, orig­i­nat­ing in New­found­land and an un­known lo­ca­tion, are sim­i­lar in na­ture.

Briand says Health Canada has reached out to Ba­nana Boat prod­ucts maker Edgewell Per­sonal Care for more in­for­ma­tion, but has not taken any ac­tion against the prod­ucts yet.

Edgewell did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quest for com­ment.

Briand says Health Canada is tak­ing the com­plaints se­ri­ously and has not ruled out the idea of fur­ther ac­tion if it de­ter­mines there’s a sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic risk.

“If we do de­ter­mine that the prod­uct ac­tu­ally needs to be taken off the shelves, we’ll take the ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to do a re­call,” she said. “We’re not at that point yet. We’re just look­ing into it.”

The most re­cent com­plaint sur­faced on May 26 when Montreal mother Caro­line Morneau wrote a Face­book post about her ninemonth-old son’s re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence with a Ba­nana Boat prod­uct, though she did not in­di­cate which spe­cific sun­screen she used.

Morneau wrote that her son de­vel­oped blis­ters on his face shortly af­ter us­ing the prod­uct, prompt­ing a visit to his pe­di­a­tri­cian.

The doc­tor di­ag­nosed sec­ond-de­gree chem­i­cal burns and at­trib­uted them to the sun­screen, Morneau al­leged in her post, which was ac­com­pa­nied by a pho­to­graph show­ing a child whose nose, cheeks and up­per lip ap­pear burned.

Health Canada ac­knowl­edged re­ceiv­ing Morneau’s com­plaint, which it has not yet had a chance to add to its data­base of ad­verse re­ac­tions. Once it has been added, the data­base will re­flect 10 com­plaints against Ba­nana Boat prod­ucts filed since 1965. Briand said one in­ci­dent re­ported in 1996 in­volved al­leged burns.

“Of­ten it is not pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine if an ad­verse re­ac­tion re­ported to Health Canada is a re­sult of us­ing a spe­cific health prod­uct,” Health Canada said in a state­ment. “Other fac­tors, such as a per­son’s health con­di­tions or other health prod­ucts they are us­ing at the same time, could con­trib­ute to the re­ac­tion.”

Ad­verse re­ac­tion re­ports are sus­pected as­so­ci­a­tions that re­flect the opin­ion or ob­ser­va­tion of the in­di­vid­ual per­son mak­ing the re­port, Health Canada noted. The data does not re­flect any Health Canada as­sess­ment of as­so­ci­a­tion between the health prod­uct and the re­ac­tions, it said.

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