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ALCOHOL-CONTAINING MOUTHWASH IS UNRECOGNIZED CAUSE OF POISONING IN YOUNG CHILDREN

 ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- As National Poison Prevention Week (March 23-27) begins, parents should take note: the mouthwash in many bathrooms is an unrecognized source of childhood poisoning.
 Because of the alcohol content of many popular mouthwash brands, accidental ingestion by children can cause such effects as seizures, brain damage, coma, and death. Only one ounce of high alcohol-content mouthwash can cause serious effects in a 22-pound child and only five ounces can be fatal.
 More than 10,000 reports of alcohol ingestion by children under age six who swallowed mouthwash were recorded in a recent five-year period, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
 Mouthwashes contain a wide range of alcohol concentrations: for example, Listerine(R) (original) contains 26.9 percent; Scope(R) (original mint flavor), 18.9 percent; Plax(R), 7.2 percent; and Clear Choice(TM), 0 percent. Many brands contain significantly more alcohol than beer (5 to 7 percent) or wine (10 to 14 percent). It is important to note that alcohol is not necessary for a mouthwash to be effective, but rather is used primarily to dissolve certain ingredients.
 "Children's curiosity and attraction to brightly colored products like mouthwash, as well as their propensity to mimic their parents' behavior, can put them in danger, especially as children are more susceptible to alcohol poisoning than adults because of their lower body weight and different metabolism," says Ann DiMaio, M.D., director of pediatric emergency services, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
 Because of the danger of child poisoning by alcohol-containing mouthwash, a petition was recently filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission by the attorneys general of 27 states, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Poison Control Centers, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The petition calls for child-resistant packaging for all mouthwashes containing more than 5 percent alcohol.
 "Raising awareness about the dangers of alcohol-containing mouthwash is extremely important because most parents do not realize the risk posed to their children," says Martin J. Davis, D.D.S., president, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. "Because these products do not have child-proof caps, parents should read the label, keep them out of the reach of small children, and consider using one of the new mouthwashes that contain no alcohol."
 Bausch & Lomb is the maker of new Clear Choice alcohol-free mouthwash.
 -0- 3/18/93
 /CONTACT: Jeff Burnett, 212-704-8234, or Jill Dash, 212-704-8206, both for Bausch & Lomb/


CO: Bausch & Lomb ST: New York IN: HOU SU:

GK-OS -- NY080 -- 7642 03/18/93 16:39 EST
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Date:Mar 18, 1993
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