Kids Poisoned By Laundry Pods, doctors warn

Updated: November 11, 2014
Warning: Detergent Pods Pose Risk to Children

Kids Poisoned By Laundry Pods, A growing number of U.S. children – some of them in upstate New York — are getting sick after swallowing or inhaling small, highly concentrated laundry detergent packets that look like candy, according to a study released today.

The study by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found U.S. poison control centers received reports of 17,230 children under age 6 swallowing, inhaling or otherwise being exposed to chemicals in single-load laundry detergent packets in 2012 and 2013.

A total of 769 children were hospitalized during that period, an average of one per day, and one child died, according to the study.

Dr. Gary Smith lead the new research.

“Laundry detergent pods are very concentrated and have strong chemicals in them,” he explains. Sometimes the chemicals get into the eyes. Sometimes they’re swallowed. And if they’re swallowed, they can cause severe burns to the esophagus and the stomach.”

Manufacturers say they’re concerned about the problem and are making changes, like improving warning labels, making the pods look less attractive to young children and switching from clear to opaque packaging.

In a statement, the American Cleaning Institute wrote that manufacturers “remain committed to reducing the number of children involved in accidents with these products, which are used safely by millions of consumers.”

But many users remain unaware of the dangers. Just last week the cleaning industry released a survey that found a majority of consumers store the detergent pods well within reach of curious young children.