Detergent Pods Pose Poisoning Risk to Young Children, Study Shows

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There has been a significant increase in the number of children suffering adverse effects from exposure to the popular laundry detergent “pods,” according to a study to appear today in Pediatrics.

Detergent pods have grown in popularity in recent years because of their convenience.  The user does not need to measure detergent or other laundry additives. But the pods are colorful and are attractive to young children, who eat them or inhale the highly concentrated ingredients when they break the outer shell of the pod. Children can suffer excessive vomiting, lethargy, and gasping, according to Consumer Reports magazine. In some cases, the child stopped breathing and needed to be put on a ventilator.According to a summary on the Pediatrics web site, “17,230 children younger than 6 years [were] exposed to laundry detergent pods in 2012–2013. From March 2012 to April 2013, the monthly number of exposures increased by 645.3%, followed by a 25.1% decrease from April to December 2013” Fox News reports (fox17online.com). The majority of the exposures – 73.5 percent – occurred in children younger than 3, with almost 80 percent of exposures through ingestion. The summary says 102 children exposed to a detergent pod via ingestion or breathing in the ingredients, required intubation. There is one confirmed death, Fox reports.

“Laundry detergent pods pose a serious poisoning risk to young children,” the summary says. The authors say the industry needs to increase efforts to prevent young children from being exposed to these products, including childproof containers for the pods, stronger labeling, a voluntary product safety standard, and public education, according to Fox.