Detergent stains Greek event

Laundry detergent used in a slip ‘n slide at a fraternity event this weekend was determined to be hazardous to the skin and sent at least one sorority member to the hospital.

In an e-mail circulated to 10 sorority presidents on Saturday afternoon, University officials warned sorority presidents that the Kirkland brand laundry detergent used to lubricate a slip ‘n slide at Pi Kappa Alpha’s annual Fireman’s Challenge philanthropy event could cause skin irritation and burns.

Possible symptoms from the laundry detergent could also include shortness of breath, throat closing and severe pain in the genital region, the e-mail said. The e-mail advised the presidents to forward the message on to their sorority sisters.

Nicky Sampogna, president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said he first learned of the possible skin irritations from Dean Harwood, director of Greek life.

“Apparently there were a number of girls who didn’t feel well and they went to the hospital,” said Sampogna, a junior.

Tracy Schario, University spokeswoman, said the e-mail was circulated to advise students on how to treat the possible skin irritations.

“Even though not everyone participated, we wanted everyone who may have to know that the symptoms they were experiencing were reactions due to suds, here was how they can treat it and if their symptoms were severe, where to go,” Schario said.

In the e-mail, sent by the GW Hospital Emergency Department and the University Police Department, participants in the Fireman’s Challenge were given instructions on how to treat the possible skin irritations and were advised to seek medical attention if necessary.

“The Kirkland Laundry Detergent has been identified by the Poison Control Center to contain a caustic chemical that can cause skin and eye burns or irritation along with allergic reactions,” the e-mail read.

In order to make sure this problem does not arise in the future, Sampogna said the fraternity will look at the competition’s events and make changes as necessary.

“This was our 5th annual event. We’ve never had this problem in the past,” Sampogna said, adding that the event raised more than $21,000 for the D.C. Firefighter’s Burn Foundation.

He added, “We’re really fortunate that the women in Greek life on campus really made the event special.”

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