New EU rules on laundry capsules

New EU rules to protect children from poisoning from laundry capsules

New EU rules on laundry capsules come into force on 1st January.

This is following concern at a number of poisoning cases involving young children who have mistaken the brightly coloured pods for toys or sweets.

New EU rules on laundry capsulesFrom now on, the coating of the capsules must contain a “bittering agent” which will make children spit them out within 6 seconds. There will also be stronger packaging which will be more difficult for small hands to open, and larger warnings telling consumers to keep them out of reach of children.

This follows successful similar EU measures on scented lamp oil and coloured lighter fuel.

Colourful laundry capsules have become increasingly popular over the last few years, as they are easier to use than traditional washing products. However, they also attract children who may accidently swallow them after mistaking the capsules for toys or sweets, and subsequently cause poisoning.

To protect children from poisoning from laundry capsules, the Commission and the Member States agreed in December 2014 to urgently introduce new safety measures on liquid detergents in soluble packaging. Among other measures, as of June 2015, all manufactures have to ensure that the soluble packaging of capsules available in the EU contains an aversive agent which makes children spit the capsule out within six seconds, if they put it in their mouths.

Capsules placed on the market before June 2015 could be sold until end of 2015. From 1 January 2016 all products on the market will have to fully comply with the new rules.

Similarly to laundry capsules, lamp oil and grill lighter fuels might also accidentally be drunk by small children, particularly children between 1 and 3 years old. In 2010 the existing restrictions in the REACH Regulation were reinforced with new labelling and packaging requirements to attract the attention of consumers to the risks of these chemicals. These requirements focus on providing clearer warning statements, limiting the packaging size and making packaging less attractive for children.

An assessment prepared by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) shows that since the latest EU labelling and packaging provisions were put into force, poisoning from these substances has significantly decreased in the EU.


The amendment to the CLP Regulation on hazardous substances and mixtures (Regulation (EC) No 1297/2014) introduces additional safety measures for liquid laundry detergents in soluble capsules, such as using a bittering agent to deter children from putting the capsule into their mouth or making the packaging more difficult to open. Moreover, the packaging has to display warnings that such products have to be kept out of reach of children. These new rules are the result of co-operation between the Member States, the Commission and the industry. A number of companies took a pro-active stance by strengthening their outer packaging already before it became obligatory. See the industry campaign in all EU languages –

Since 2000, EU legislation prohibited coloured and scented oils and required that containers for lamp oils and grill lighter fuels had to be fitted with child-resistant fastenings. In 2009 the European Commission introduced new labelling and packaging requirements under REACH (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006), such as clearer warning statements, limiting the packaging size and making packaging less attractive for children. According to an assessment by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published in July 2015, the number of poisonings has been reduced by 9% per year for lamp oils, and 15% for grill lighter fuels since the new measures were effectuated in 2010. An overall reduction of 75% can be expected by 2020.

More information

CLP Regulation
REACH Regulation

Minister Reilly publishes Adoption Information and Tracing legislation

27th July 2015
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James Reilly has today published the General Scheme and Heads of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. The bill was considered at Cabinet last Wednesday and the government has agreed to refer the bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for pre-legislative scrutiny.
The new legislation, which will provide a statutory basis for the provision of information related to adoption, will be both prospective and retrospective. Efforts have been on-going for many years related to the provision of a statutory entitlement to identity information and this new legislation represents a key step forward.
Speaking at the launch Minister Reilly said “Today marks a major breakthrough in dealing with the complex challenge of providing a statutory entitlement to identity information for adopted persons. The Bill will give an adopted person aged 18 years or over, who was adopted prior to commencement of the Bill, a statutory entitlement to the information required to apply for his or her birth certificate, following a request to the Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
The Minister stated “In drafting the legislation we faced a particular challenge in the attempt to reconcile an adopted person’s request for information about his or her identity with the right to privacy of his or her birth parent.  We recognised that adopted persons are a unique part of this process and the information that they are seeking is about their own identity. A birth certificate is an important piece of identifying information that is shared by an adopted person and his/her birth parents. We are distinguishing it from other identifying information which can be more readily characterised as belonging to one or the other.”
The new proposal includes a contact preference mechanism that will operate alongside a undertaking by adopted persons not to contact his/her birth parents. In addition there will be an offer of guidance and support from Tusla social workers to both adopted persons and birth parents.
There will be an initial period of one year after commencement of the Bill for an awareness campaign, to publicise the provisions of the Bill and to allow birth parents to indicate on the Register if they want “No contact at present” or otherwise, before the adopted person will have a statutory entitlement to their birth certificate under these provisions.

The Minister emphasised
“While this Bill is about providing a right to information it is critical that birth parents’ constitutional right to privacy is protected. I believe that by allowing birth parents an opportunity to specify the extent of contact, if any, in addition to the other safeguards to be put in place will ensure that this important right is protected.”
The Bill also provides for a copy of a birth certificate, an adoption order and other information to be provided to an adopted person whose adoption was effected after the commencement of this Bill, following application by that person.  It provides for the sharing of information about a child who was adopted, between birth parents and adoptive parents, where both parties agree. In addition, it provides for information to be given to an adopted person whose adoption is registered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions.
The Bill provides that persons who were the subject of “informal adoptions” and “wrongful registrations”, and birth parents of these persons, may avail themselves of information and tracing services and be provided with information, where such information is available.

The Bill provides for the establishment of the Adoption Information Register and for the safeguarding of all adoption records to be operated by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

The Minister said “I have been working in cooperation with the Attorney General to develop this scheme. The draft Heads now prepared involve a scheme that will greatly improve access to information, including provision of an adopted person’s birth certificate, with appropriate protections and an appeal mechanism to protect the rights of all parties.  The proposals are the result of an intensive effort to identify a means of dealing with the significant legal and practical challenges that arise.”