Last month a teenager from the West Midlands was left gasping for air after suffering an allergic reaction to a bath bomb that contained milk.
Emelia Brain, 13, is severely allergic to all dairy products, eggs, tree nuts and the cold, and she also has asthma. Her allergies first became clear when she kissed her mother on the lips after she'd been eating a yogurt and her face ballooned up.
Since then, knowing how ill she could fall if she ate the wrong snack or used the wrong soap, Emelia learned to read labels carefully. The label on the bath bomb legally identified milk as one of its ingredients, but it wasn’t in BOLD and didn’t stand out. Mother Maria said, “ Emelia thought she checked them all. For a 13-year-old it didn't stand out. You had to squint to see it."
Maria added, “ Within 2 minutes of her getting in her bath she shouted out for help. You could hear the sound of panic in her voice. My husband and I both rushed to help, she just couldn't breath, gasping pulling at her neck and her body getting covered in large red blotches as the seconds past! I got her out and started to give her the inhaler, my husband gave her Piriton liquid and got the EpiPen ready. Her inhaler had little effect so we called 999 stating anaphylaxis. The paramedics were amazing and with us in under 5 minutes. They administered 2 shots of adrenaline, chlorphenamine, nebulizers and put her on oxygen. She was then blue-lighted to hospital and given a high dose of steroids and once she was stable they continued to monitor her. Her response to the medication was good and we are just so thankful that we acted as quickly as we did. Emmie has since made a full recovery. "
Now Emelia and her parents are campaigning for allergens on cosmetic products to be written in bold, so people have the best chance possible of avoiding potentially deadly ingredients.
There are currently 26 fragrance allergens or components that are required to be listed on cosmetics products along with all ingredients used. But Emelia’s family is asking that asking that the UK Parliament along with the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) make it a legal requirement to highlight all allergens in BOLD on beauty products and use plain English instead of Latin names, making label reading much easier for the consumer.