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Information update

Advising Canadians about Reed Diffusers

Starting date:
December 3, 2012
Posting date:
December 3, 2012
Type of communication:
Information Update
Household Items, Specialized Products
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Important Safety Information, Poisoning Hazard
General Public
Identification number:

Health Canada is advising parents and caregivers to keep reed diffusers out of reach of children and to teach them about the potential hazards posed by these products.

Reed diffusers are home fragrance products that consist of a bottle, scented oils and reeds (thin wooden sticks used to diffuse the oil). These products can come in various colours and sizes. There are several different types of oils used in reed diffuser products, some of which may be harmful if ingested. Once the diffuser container is filled with the scented oil, the reeds are placed into the filled bottle with one end submerged in the oil, making it readily accessible to toddlers or young children exploring their environment. The colourful, fragrant oils and decorative material are likely to attract a child's attention.

Health Canada has received reports of children becoming ill after ingesting the liquid contents of reed diffuser products. Depending on the product formulation, some liquids used in reed diffusers can pose serious health risks to children if unintentional exposure occurs.

Consumer chemical products and containers, including reed diffuser oils and the containers used to store the oils, are subject to the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001. Therefore, a reed diffuser that contains a liquid classified as toxic or flammable must have the appropriate labelling and packaging. Health Canada regularly monitors the marketplace, and takes appropriate action when non-compliant products are identified. However, there are steps parents and caregivers can take at home to help prevent injury.

What you should do

  • Keep reed diffusers and any product containing oils out of reach of young children and locked out of sight when not in use.
  • Consumers should read the labels on the bottles to be aware of the hazards posed by the product.
  • Make sure children understand the hazard symbols on household chemical products, so they do not unintentionally harm themselves or others.
  • Read more about Poison Prevention.

If a child does access the contents of a reed diffuser, parents should contact the nearest poison control centre or call 911. The contact number is generally on the first page of your telephone book under Emergency Numbers.

Report health or safety concerns

Internet: Report an Incident Involving a Consumer Product
Phone: 1-866-662-0666 (calls will be routed to closest regional office)
Mail: Incident Report - Consumer Product Safety Directorate
Health Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1A 0K9

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Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709


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