We have gotten to a point where crayons and play-dough pose no toxic threat to children, but what of other household items? A new study has found that thousands of children in the United States are being poisoned by laundry detergent pods, often after consuming them. Needless to say, the researchers are calling for tighter safety standards.
The study analyzed data from 2012 to 2013, finding that the United States poison control centers received 17,230 reports related to these toxic laundry detergent pods. Approximately 80%of the calls (about 13,000 cases) were from concerned parents who discovered that their children had actually ingested the pods. The remaining calls were sparked from children breaking open the pods and exposing their eyes to the chemicals while inhaling the toxic fumes.
This frequency equates nearly to one young child every hour. One and two year-olds accounted for nearly 2/3 of cases. A total of 769 young children were hospitalized during that period, an average of one per day. One child died.
Senior author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital at Columbus, OH, said:
“Laundry detergent pods are small, colorful and may look like candy or juice to a young child. 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.
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.”
Commenting on their findings, the researchers say:
“Laundry detergent pods are new products in the US marketplace that pose a serious poisoning risk to young children.
This nationwide study underscores the need for increased efforts to prevent exposure of young children to these products, which may include improvements in product packaging and labeling, development of a voluntary product safety standard and public education.”
You can see from this ABC News video that this has been an issue for at least a couple years.
What Can You Do to Help?
So how can we reduce the incidence of children being poisoned by thees toxic pods? It isn’t so difficult.
For parents or caregivers of young children, the team makes the following recommendations:
- Use traditional laundry detergents instead of laundry pods, as they are much less toxic if something were to happen.
- Store detergent pods out of sight from young children, where they can not be seen or reached.
- If you continue to use the detergent pods, be sure to store them away immediately after use.
- In case of emergency, keep the National Capital Poison Center number (1-800-222-1222) by your home phones and store it in your cell phone.