Norwegian Cyclists Poisoned after Mistaking Liquid Detergent for Sports Drink

Six thirsty Norwegian cyclists were accidentally poisoned last week, during the ‘Fredagsbirken’ race in Rena, near Oslo, when they mistook samples of liquid detergent for sports drinks and gulped down the stuff . All six of them were rushed to the emergency ward of a nearby hospital for treatment.

It all started when Lilleborg, the makers of ‘Omo Activ & Sport’ liquid detergent, handed out free samples to all the competitors, before the race. “Since this clothes washing detergent is especially developed for training clothes, we thought it would be relevant to give it to our contestants,” said organizer Ingunn Rønningen. “They could use it to wash their training clothes after the event.”

While most participants understood that it was washing liquid, some of them apparently thought it was an energy drink. According to the organizers, the samples were clearly labelled as detergents. They even told cyclists not to mix the liquid with drinking water. In spite of these warnings, there were people who just didn’t get the message. When the organizers realized that some of the cyclists got ill, they put up large signs to stop the others from repeating the mistake.


The makers of the detergent were astonished by the turn of events. “We thought it was obvious from the label that it is a detergent, but considering what has happened, we will re-evaluate if the labeling is good enough,” said Anne Gjemdal, head of information at Lilleborg. “The product is labelled according to strict regulations.”

Gjemdal also apologized for the unfortunate event: “We are deeply sorry that people have mistakenly thought ‘Omo’ was a sports drink. We hope those affected are well taken care of.”

Joe Gunnar Ellevold, head organizer, said that the Poisoning Information Center was immediately notified after some of the contestants consumed the detergent. He also explained that there is no cause for any serious concern. According to the instructions on the bottle, users need to drink two or three glasses of milk or water after accidental consumption, before consulting a doctor. Accordingly, the injured participants were given plenty of fluids before medical help arrived.


“We were informed that it is not dangerous to one’s health to drink around a deciliter of detergent,” Ellevold said. “It produces some foam and it is natural that one will experience some discomfort for a time after drinking it.”

Since no one was seriously injured, there’s an inside joke doing the rounds among organizers – they figured out that 80 percent of the competitors were married men, so they obviously had no idea what Omo was!

Source: The Local

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