Liquid laundry detergent pods continue to be a dangerous curiosity to some people despite efforts to warn the public that the packets may look like candy to young children and some people with dementia, but can be poisonous if ingested.
According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, there was only an 18% drop in exposures and hospitalizations due to laundry pods in children younger than 6 between 2015 and 2017. Prior to 2015, the number of exposures and hospitalizations doubled year over year.
Despite a 2015 product safety standard being adopted and a public awareness campaign, nearly 72,000 calls involving laundry pods were made to U.S. poison control centers in the past five years. At least eight people have died after ingesting the laundry packets – two were younger than 1 year old, and six were adults with a history of dementia.
The laundry pods are also being blamed for eye injuries in adults, sending 700 people to the emergency room last year alone. “They pop and they squirt up into your face and if you get it in your eye it can be a significant injury,” Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital told CBS News.
The network is calling for manufacturers of the detergent packets to individually wrap the pods similar to the way manufacturers individually wrap some dishwasher pods. “It’s voluntary and they haven’t,” Spiller said.
Since manufacturers won’t take the lead, Spiller recommends consumers avoid the pods. “If you have young children or if you have at-risk older seniors, these really shouldn’t be in your house. There are alternatives that are just as good for your laundry – the powders and the liquid detergents,” he said.