'Corrosive' dishwasher powder recalled
A dishwasher powder has been recalled after Consumer NZ testing found it was highly corrosive and breached safety standards, the consumer group says.
The Earthwise dishwasher powder was sold in supermarkets nationwide and claimed to be "naturally powerful and naturally kind", Consumer said.
But testing found it had a pH level of 13.2. The sale of automatic dishwasher detergents with a pH higher than 12.5 has been prohibited since 2007, under the Cleaning Products (Corrosive) Group Standard.
Consumer said after it advised Earthwise of the results the company removed the product from shops and has today issued a public recall - offering refunds to people who have bought it.
Earthwise said it had changed its blending method to lower the pH and was confident the issue was resolved, Consumer said.
Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin said it was pleased the company had addressed the problem but was extremely concerned the product failed to meet the pH standard.
"This standard was introduced to minimise the risk of harm to young children from automatic dishwasher products. All manufacturers should be complying with it."
Consumer said in the past children had suffered severe burns to the mouth, throat and airways after eating dishwashing powders with a high pH.
Some of the burns were so severe the children affected needed surgery to repair damage from scar tissue.
Chetwin said the marketing of the Earthwise product as "naturally kind" was likely to mislead consumers into thinking it was a safer choice.
"Companies making green claims need to ensure any claims are accurate, unambiguous and verifiable. Otherwise they shouldn't be making them."
Consumer tested 19 dishwasher tablets and powders this month. It said while no other products breached the pH safety standard, all detergents needed to be used with care as they often contained corrosive substances that could cause chemical burns if they got into people's eyes, were eaten or left on the skin.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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