Do you carry a toxic handbag?
WOMEN carry a
"frightening" amount of toxic items in their
handbags that pose a poisoning risk to young
children, the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC)
The centre urged young mothers, their female friends
and relatives to clear out their bags and keep
products such as painkillers and contraceptive pills
out of reach of toddlers.
The National Poisons Information
Centre cites this bag as an example of one that
poses a toxic danger to young children.
NPIC poison information
specialist, Elaine Donohoe, said people were
generally aware of the dangers lurking in the
kitchen cupboard or the bathroom cabinet but might
overlook their own handbag as a possible danger zone
"The handbag is probably somewhere people don't
think about, even though many toxic items can be
found there on a daily basis," said Ms Donohoe.
"You can find a range of things that people take
every day such as contraceptive medication, diabetic
medication or ibuprofen and paracetamol. Then
perhaps with a grandmother or older relative’s
handbag, you might find cardiac medication.”
Ms Donohoe said women should be mindful not to leave
handbags lying open on the floor or anywhere within
reach of youngsters.
"We would urge people to be conscious about what
they’re carrying around with them without even
The poisons specialist added that while many female
cosmetics such as lipstick did not have high
toxicity levels, high-alcohol hand-gels posed a
Meanwhile, she urged women to adopt a number of
simple measures to keep their handbags child-safe.
"In the first instance, don't take tablets out of
their original packaging because it makes access to
"Also, if a child accidentally takes medication or
is found with medication and requires medical
assessment, it's much more difficult to identify
what it is and what concentration it is, if it's out
of its original packaging.
"Overall, ‘out of sight and out of reach’ would be
the ongoing slogan we would try to encourage,” she