Health Canada Warns Parents and Caregivers about the Dangers of Flame Colourant Packets

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  • Product: Flame colourant packets (chemicals in small packets that cause the colour of the flames to change in wood-burning fires).
  • Issue: Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risk of poisoning from improperly using flame colourant packets. These products contain potentially poisonous chemicals and can be mistaken for candy or food by children and adults. Ingestion of the contents of flame colourant packets can severely harm both children and adults.
  • What to do: Always keep consumer chemical products, including flame colourant packets, out of sight and reach of children. Always read product labels and follow specific warnings and directions before using any flame colourant packet. Flame colourant packets are intended to be thrown directly into wood burning fires and should never be opened.

Issue

Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risk of poisoning from improperly using flame colourant packets. Flame colourant packets are used to change the colour of wood burning flames, such as a campfire. These packets are intended to be thrown directly into wood burning fires unopened.

Canadian Poison Centres have received more than 70 reports related to flame colourant packets over the past two years (2019 and 2020). The majority of these exposures involved ingestions and a small number of these ingestions have resulted in major health effects. The majority of the cases (67%) involved children under the age of 12. A third of the cases required treatment at a health care facility. Canadian Poison Centres have noted that some children and even adults have mistaken these products for candy or food due to their colourful packaging. Children or adults who swallow the contents of flame colourant packets may experience symptoms, including severe internal bleeding, and kidney and liver damage, which may lead to death.

With the arrival of summer, these products may be used in campfires. Health Canada wants to remind Canadians to use extreme caution when using these products.

What you should do

  • Keep all consumer chemical products, including flame colourant packets, out of sight and reach of children.
  • Always read and follow the specific warnings and directions on the product label before using any flame colourant packets.
  • Never open flame colourant packets; throw them directly into the fire unopened for the desired effect.
  • If you or someone else has ingested one of these products:
    • Call a Poison Centre or your health care provider right away.
    • Have the product label handy to provide its information to the person who answers the phone.
    • Bring the original product container with you when seeking help.
    • Report the incident to Health Canada.

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983
[email protected]

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709
[email protected]

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada is alerting Canadians of the risks associated with these products. The Department also wants to provide Canadians with tips on how to use the products safely.

Flame colourant packets that contain hazardous ingredients must have labelling in the form of hazard symbols, warning statements, instructions for safe use and first-aid treatments in both official languages. Health Canada is committed to helping protect Canadians from potentially dangerous consumer products. The Department regularly monitors consumer products on the Canadian market and will continue to do so to help keep consumers safe.

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