This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the pros and cons of daycare and preschools. Remember Nursery Fields Forever, the amazing preschool that teaches kids how to grow their own food? How about the North Carolina daycare that taped a young girl’s shoes to her feet, cutting off her circulation?
Today, we have another appalling story. During snack time at a Hawaiian preschool, according to a report released by the State Department of Health, an assistant “accidentally” served students Pine-Sol instead of apple juice. (1)
The supposed mistake took place at Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool in East Oahu.
When preparing the morning snack – dry crackers and juice – the assistant saw a yellowish brown-colored liquid container.
The first hint should have been that the liquid container was sitting on a clean-up cart. But the assistant continued to fill each cup and hand them out to the preschoolers.
Thankfully, it was not long before the teacher realized the yellowish-brown liquid was not apple juice. She immediately stopped the students from drinking it.
What was the liquid?
It was Pine-Sol, a pine oil-based household cleaning product used to clean grease and heavy oil stains. (2)
Emergency Medical Services evaluated only three 4-and-5-year-old students. Fortunately, paramedics confirmed that they did not require treatment.
Since the event, KHON2 has reported that the preschool assistant no longer works at the school. (1) However, potentially fatal mistakes like this one make you wonder how they happen in the first place.
“The liquid was in the original Pine-Sol container and properly labeled. The cart has no food items on or in it, a rubbish can and cleaning supplies are stored on this cart,” states the Food Establishment Inspection Report. (3) “The cleaning supplies are stored below the kitchen sink and in the janitor’s room. All the food items in the kitchen are properly stored and labeled in the kitchen cabinets.”
While the two liquids may appear similar in color, the smells are objectively different. In an effort to address the parents’ concerns, the preschool sent out an email informing them of what happened and held a question and answer meeting.
“I think it’s extremely terrifying. It’s very, very, scary,” said Turina Lovelin, a parent of one of the students. (1) “But it’s hard for me or any of the people that I’ve spoken to to understand how it happened in the first place.”
The Side Effects of Pine-Sol
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has given Pine-Sol (All Purpose Cleaner, Original) a score of D. (4)
On top of poor ingredient disclosure, the EWG has linked this cleaning product to asthma and respiratory problems, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, as well as environmental damage.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network cites 12 peer-reviewed studies that highlight the human health effects of pine oil products (including Pine-Sol). (5)
Common side effects of ingesting pine oil (products) can include:
- Ataxia (i.e., the loss of full control of bodily movements)
- Irritation of the mucous membranes
- Gastrointestinal irritation
- Central nervous system (CNS) depression
- Respiratory distress
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Renal failure
- Death (in extreme cases)
In the case above – thankfully – no children were harmed. However, it does emphasize the importance of vetting your children’s daycare or school facilities.
In this day and age with parents working long hours at full-time jobs, students can spend more time at daycare and school than at home. So, it’s crucial that you are aware of these six tips for choosing child care.
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