Health Canada warns of poison risk from flame colourant packs

WINNIPEG — With camping season now underway across the country, Health Canada is warning parents and guardians to be aware of the dangers flame colourant packages can possess.

The colourants are used to change the colour of flames in wood-burning fires, but Health Canada warns there is a risk of poisoning from the packets, saying they contain potentially poisonous chemicals and can be mistaken for candy or food by children or adults.

“Canadian Poison Centres have received more than 70 reports related to flame colourant packets over the past two years (2019 and 2020),” Health Canada said. “The majority of these exposures involved ingestions and a small number of these ingestions have resulted in major health effects.”

If the contents of the packets are swallowed, symptoms can include severe internal bleeding, kidney damage, and liver damage, which can cause death.

Health Canada added 67 per cent of the cases involved children under the age of 12.

Canadians are reminded to keep the packets out of the reach of children, and follow all instructions on the package. The flame colourants should not be opened, but instead, the package should be thrown directly into the fire unopened for the desired effect.

If the items in the package are swallowed, people should call poison control immediately.


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