Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (153)

Finian McGrath

Question:

280 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that cleaning materials containing bleach and other such substances are not only damaging for the environment but also have a detrimental effect on our health; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25176/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

Regulations for the classification, packaging and labelling of cleaning materials, such as those referred to by the Deputy, are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The Health and Safety Authority, HSA, which comes under the aegis of that Department, has advised that the potential health effects of cleaning agents containing bleach are: corrosive, if concentration is greater than or equal to 10%; irritation to the skin and eyes, if the product comes in contact with unprotected skin and eyes; and toxic, the product has the potential to release toxic gas if it comes in contact with acid.

I am advised that most cleaning agents containing bleach, available to the general public, have a concentration of less than 10%.

The HSA has advised that under the European Communities (Classification, Packaging and Labelling of Dangerous Preparations) Regulations 2004 such cleaning materials must carry an appropriate danger symbol, risk phrases and safety phrases. The danger symbol alerts the user of the danger presented, the risk phrases specify the potential effect, and the safety phrases inform the user of the precautions to be taken when using the product.

Persons using such cleaning materials should do so in accordance with the labelling and instructions so as to avoid any significant risk to human health.