Thw producers of Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser, have recalled almost 25 000 bottles of the antiseptic liquid after these were found to be contaminated with the harmful and toxic chemicals acetone and butoxyethanol.

This week the company has embarked on an advertising campaign, urgently recalling 750ml bottles with batch numbers 55726, 55730, 55732 and 55734 with an expiry date of 02/2011 after these were found to hold health and safety hazards to consumers.

Spokesperson Eunice Mogotloane called on consumers who were experiencing irritation to skin, eyes or nose to seek medical attention.

However she allayed fears and panic, saying the products "shouldn't have any adverse health effects" as they contained minimal levels of contaminants. Mogotloane said the affected products were being recalled via direct notification to all health-care professionals, hospitals and the retail and wholesale trade.

She said the 24 840 bottles, which were put on the market in mid-March, were recalled after tests showed some of the raw materials used in the manufacturing of the product were found to be contaminated with acetone and butoxyethanol chemicals.

Though the recalling of the products started on Wednesday, only five consumers had been confirmed to be in possession of the product.

"Consumer safety is fundamental to sound and ethical business practice, and to our responsibility as the producer of quality consumer products. Reckitt Benckiser places the health and well-being of our consumers at the forefront of our product development," she said.

An Internet search showed that side effects of acetone included headaches, light-headedness and tiredness while inhalation could cause dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting or even death. Butoxyethanol was highly toxic and short-term exposure could cause irritation to eyes, skin and can cause kidney damage, while long-term exposure could lead to blood disorders.

Consumers in possession of the affected products can call the Reckitt Benckiser care line at 086 111 1100. - Daily News Correspondent