Laundry detergent pods mistaken for candy and ingested by children were the source of more than 17,000 poison center calls and 700 hospital visits in the past two years due to illnesses, some serious enough to cause seizures, coma and death, according to new research.
The incidents involved children younger than 6, and most weren’t seriously harmed. However, 144 suffered eye injuries, 30 went into comas, 12 had seizures, and last year one infant died after ingesting the packets of laundry detergent. The packets are often brightly colored and can be easily mistaken for candy.
Researchers say the report shows that stronger measures need to be taken to ensure manufacturers of the detergent pods make the packaging safer and less attractive to young children.
Laundry detergent, whether in liquid or powder form, can cause mouth or throat irritation when ingested and can progress to vomiting. The pods, which contain concentrated amounts of detergent, generally have a more violent effect on children, including prolonged vomiting, coughing, breathing difficulty and drowsiness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now differentiates between pod and non-pod detergent poisoning.
The American Cleaning Institute, which represents the cleaning product industry, issued a voluntary guidance that makers of laundry detergent pods use labels that prominently list safe handling instructions. The group is also encouraging manufacturers to educate parents that the pods can be easily mistaken as candy by children, and that the pods are toxic and can cause serious injuries. A survey recently conducted by the institute however showed that consumers are still unaware of the serious risks with the pods.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents to store the packets out of children’s sight and reach, and to not allow children to handle the pods.
Source: SF Gate