Of all the things I could post here, I would not have thought that a post in which I linked to someone else’s post would be getting the most hits and attracting the most controversy.

So. After reading back over Kerflop’s post about an injury to her son and the product whose use lead to it, and the comments section on that post, and various other blogs’ posts on the subject including more than a few rants — and after seeing how many hits my own brief post is still getting — I feel the need to return to the subject and address a few things I’ve seen being said.

First, a basic summary of what happened to Kerflop’s son:

  • He was performing his assigned household chore, cleaning scuff marks off the walls.
  • In performing this task, he normally used either a Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean, or an Easy Eraser by 3M. On the day in question, he used the 3M Easy Eraser.
  • He exercised poor judgment, as a five-year-old sometimes will, and rubbed his cheeks and chin with the Eraser.
  • This resulted in scrapes and burns to his face. The scrapes were from the abrasive action of the Eraser; and those scrapes probably made it much easier for the chemical base in the Eraser to burn his face.

Now, to address a few conclusions you might be jumping to based on that description:

  • Kerflop did check the labels of both products before allowing her son to use them. The only label on either at that time was on warning against ingestion.
  • If you look at a new package of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, you will see a warning that it can abrade the skin (though there is still no warning of burns due to the basic pH of the product). This warning is relatively recent.
  • The 3M Easy Eraser, which Kerflop’s son was using on the day in question, apparently still bears no such warning.

Kerflop in no way deserves to have it implied that she is a bad mother, or that she was neglectful or irresponsible to allow her son to use what seemed to be an appropriate and safe cleaning product, under supervision and for its intended purpose. (She certainly did not give this to him to use as a toy, as I have seen stated.) She also accepts responsibility for being a little too trusting of the labels of the products, which she has learned to her dismay were inadequate.

I posted about this subject originally because I know quite a few parents who are quite fond of these Erasers, and who seem to think of them as a highly effective version of a soapy sponge — which would be a reasonable thing to have an ordinary five-year-old use for cleaning, if that were true. I wanted to spread the word and help make sure parents who are fans of these products are aware of the harmful effects they can have, given their inadequate warning labels.

I’m posting this followup because a number of people seem to be forming judgments based on an incomplete reading of Kerflop’s post (or worse yet based on secondary accounts). I hope drawing out a few pertinent points here will make things clearer for at least a few people.