Laundry detergent pods pose "serious poisoning risk" for children: Study

Kamis, 13 November 2014 | 09:47

One young child per day was hospitalized in the United States in 2012 and 2013 because of laundry detergent pods, according to a study published.Laundry detergent pods began appearing on U.S. store shelves in early 2010, and people have used them in growing numbers ever since, but the convenience has come with risks for young children, Xinhua news agency quoted.

U.S. poison control centers received reports of 17,230 children younger than 6 years of age swallowing, inhaling, or otherwise being exposed to chemicals in laundry detergent pods in 2012 and 2013, or about one per hour, researchers at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said.

A total of 769 young children were hospitalized during that period, an average of one per day, and one child died, the researchers said.

One and two year-olds accounted for nearly two-thirds of cases as children that age often put items in their mouths as a way of exploring their environments.

According to the researchers, children who put detergent pods in their mouths risk swallowing a large amount of concentrated chemicals and the vast majority of exposures in this study were due to ingestion.

"Laundry detergent pods are small, colorful, and may look like candy or juice to a young child," co-author Marcel Casavant, chief of toxicology at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, said in a statement.

"It can take just a few seconds for children to grab them, break them open, and swallow the toxic chemicals they contain, or get the chemicals in their eyes."

Nearly half of children vomited after laundry detergent pod exposure, the researchers said. Other common effects were coughing or choking, eye pain or irritation, drowsiness or lethargy and red eye or conjunctivitis.

A leading manufacturer of laundry detergent pods began changing its packaging in the spring of 2013, introducing containers that were not see-through and adding latches and a warning label to the containers, the researchers said.

However, laundry detergent pods from many makers continue to be sold in see-through packages with zip-tops or other easily opened containers, they noted.

"It is not clear that any laundry detergent pods currently available are truly child resistant; a national safety standard is needed to make sure that all pod makers adopt safer packaging and labeling," said lead author Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Childrens Hospital.

"Parents of young children should use traditional detergent instead of detergent pods."