Passover cleaners appear to be deadly

Monday, March 19, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
While a recent poll revealed that more Israelis do their own Passover cleaning than hiring a cleaner, more than a third of parents admit to storing poisonous cleaning materials in unsafe places.

Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, which urges special care during housecleaning before Passover, conducted the survey.

The number of accidental poisonings and babies drowning in pails of water is 90 percent higher during the two weeks before the Jewish holiday than the rest of the year. The center found that those six years old and younger are at greatest risk.

In 2006, 285 children were injured in home accidents during the week before Passover, down from the 313 hurt in the week before the holiday in 2005.

The most dangerous chemicals are alkaline oven cleaners that work without heating. They contain caustic soda, causing serious burns on the skin when touched and to the mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach when swallowed.

Beterem said that highly concentrated cleaning products with caustic acid sold here are not labeled or sealed properly in order to protect children. They advise parents to immediately store the chemicals after using them, out of reach from the hands of children.

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