Be wary of on­line gift buying

Te Puke Times - - News / Sport -

Lurk­ing on­line this Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son is an abun­dance of prod­ucts con­tain­ing haz­ardous sub­stances which can pose a risk if they don’t meet New Zealand’s strict rules to keep Ki­wis safe.

Lizzie Wil­son, En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Authority (EPA) spokes­woman for its Safer Homes Pro­gramme, says prod­ucts that can pose the most risk in­clude cos­met­ics and toi­letries, such as per­fume and make up, and chil­dren’s graph­ics ma­te­ri­als: finger paints, crayons, and wa­ter­colour paints.

“We all like the con­ve­nience of on­line shop­ping, but it’s hard to know how safe the goods are if you don’t have a phys­i­cal prod­uct in your hand,” says Ms Wil­son.

“Ev­ery year, 500 chil­dren across New Zealand end up in hospi­tal, harmed by a haz­ardous sub­stance, in­clud­ing those which state they are nat­u­ral as they can still be haz­ardous.

“The EPA’S haz­ardous sub­stances data shows that in­juries can oc­cur from prod­ucts — whether that’s the re­sult of ba­bies or tod­dlers who are prone to suck­ing or eat­ing brightly coloured paints or crayons, to oth­ers who may ex­pe­ri­ence skin re­ac­tions as a re­sult of un­safe chem­i­cal for­mu­las in skin or hair prod­ucts,” says Ms Wil­son.

For more tips visit www.epa.govt.nz/safer­homes or the EPA Safer Homes Facebook page.

When shop­ping on­line:

■ Buy prod­ucts from re­tail­ers and brands you know and trust.

■ If you are in any doubt about the safety of a prod­uct, don’t buy or use it.

■ If the la­bel isn’t in English, doesn’t list in­gre­di­ents, batch code and New Zealand im­porter and man­u­fac­turer con­tact de­tails, the prod­uct isn’t com­pli­ant with the safety rules.

When you bring gifts home:

■ Store cos­met­ics and other haz­ardous sub­stances out of reach of small chil­dren. Even if the prod­uct states it’s ‘non-toxic’ or ‘nat­u­ral’ it could be dan­ger­ous if swal­lowed.

■ If you have an al­ler­gic or other re­ac­tion to a prod­uct, stop us­ing it im­me­di­ately.

If the re­ac­tion is se­vere, get med­i­cal help.

■ Make sure you fol­low the in­struc­tions on the la­bel, and use the prod­uct only as in­tended.

■ It’s also a good idea to patch test prod­ucts to find out whether a prod­uct is likely to ir­ri­tate your skin or cause an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion when it is ap­plied to a larger area. When or­der­ing from over­seas: If you are or­der­ing pre­sents from over­seas you need to know what is al­lowed.

Prod­ucts such as finger paints, crayons and water colour paints (graph­ics ma­te­ri­als) need spe­cial per­mis­sion. New Zealand Cus­toms web­site has in­for­ma­tion about bring­ing th­ese into the coun­try www.cus­toms.govt.nz/ per­sonal/pro­hib­ited-an­drestricted-items/

‘Ev­ery year, 500 chil­dren across New Zealand end up in hospi­tal, harmed by a haz­ardous sub­stance, in­clud­ing those which state they are nat­u­ral as they can still be haz­ardous.’

LIZZIE WIL­SON En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Authority spokes­woman for Safer Homes

Buying Christ­mas gifts on line can have its pit­falls.

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