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August 26, 2003 06:00 AM

Broken: Tablet packaging

Erik Saastad writes from Oslo, Norway:

In Norway we have flouride tablets for kids. They come in two flavours: banana and peppermint. You'd expect banana-flavoured tablets to be yellow. And peppermint-flavoured gum is often blue or white.

The manufacturer, however, mixes them up... by design! Blue has banana taste, and yellow has peppermint taste.

I asked the manufacturer why, and they said that the strength decides the colour. 0.25 is blue, and 0.50 is yellow.

If the kids are to get these themselves, and cannot read - do you think they would choose the right one?


Scary, but not the scariest. I worked most of my early career in emergency departments in Central California where the language of many of our patients was Spanish. Never the less, the pharmacy software we used insisted on writing out 'once' a day for medications supposed to be taken one time per day. Unfortunately, 'once' means eleven in Spanish. On more than one occasion, people returned to the hospital after taking 11 of something.

This 'occurence' was portrayed on an episode of ER. So, it must be true life imitates art.

Posted by: Ferkle at November 4, 2003 02:41 AM

Never let a child that can't read (or any child) medicate themselves! At least read it yourself and explain what it is, how much to take, and what it looks like!

Posted by: Mink'o'War at July 17, 2004 06:32 PM

flouridej is bad, okay?

Posted by: kel at August 29, 2004 10:20 AM

They aren't actually supposed to swallow those, are they? Flouride is harmful even in small amounts. It has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and the point of taking it out of most European water supplies was to prevent problems caused by ingesting flouride over time. That's part of the reason I don't often drink tap water here in the US.

Posted by: Brian at January 15, 2005 07:21 PM

So where did you get that information?

You NEED Flouride to help your teeth...

The people who sell those water filters just want you to think flouride is evil...

Posted by: oneguy at March 2, 2006 07:36 PM

Just a wee minute boys...

Fluoride gets added to water supply in some areas because it is good for your teeth. It is left out of the water supply in other areas because it impairs the taste - nothing to do with health risks.

Less of the scare-mongering please, Brian dear

I agree with Erik, this is broken. Yellow is the colour of bananas and if you were shopping in a rush (as people do, not wanting to spend hours reading the labels on every product, but rather to get out of the shop and go live your life) you would assume yellow was the banana flavour. They should make the lettering stating the flavour much larger if they don't want to change the colour

Posted by: higgser at May 4, 2006 06:46 AM

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