UNITED STATES: ‘ DETERGENT PODS CAN POISON OR KILL A CHILD SAYS NEW REPORT ‘
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – Nov.10 – U.S. poison control centres received more than 17,000 calls – or about one per hour – about children who’d been exposed to chemicals in laundry detergent pods in 2012 and 2013, a new study found.
Over 700 of the children were hospitalized, and one child died, researchers said.
“This caught us by surprise,” said Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead author from the Centre for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“I’ve seen these cases come through the hospital’s emergency department,” he said. “I was aware of the case reports, but I haven’t seen anyone pull together the numbers.”
Laundry detergent pods were introduced to the U.S. market in 2012. The all-in-one packets contain detergent that’s released in the wash, so users don’t have to measure detergent in a cup.
Smith and his colleagues write in the journal Pediatrics that doctors have previously reported on kids who’ve eaten or burst the pods with serious consequences, such as being hospitalized and put on a ventilator for several days.
To get a better understanding of how many children are being exposed and possibly harmed by the pods, the researchers analyzed data from 2012 and 2013 from the National Poison Data System, which catalogs calls made to U.S. poison control centers.
Overall, the centres received 17,230 calls about children younger than six who were somehow exposed to the liquid in laundry detergent pods.
That’s roughly four calls per 10,000 children in that age group, according to the researchers.
About a third of the calls involved children between the ages of one and two years.
“This is an age group that has newfound mobility,” Smith said. “They’re curious and they don’t sense danger.” Children may think the colourful pods are candy or filled with juice, he said.
About 80 percent of all calls involved children swallowing the pods or their liquids.
In 2012, for example, Tide said it would add a safety latch to its detergent pods, after a child was hospitalized for swallowing the contents. (See Reuters story of May 25, 2012, here:reut.rs/1sua9AJ.)
Smith does not think any current packaging is truly child resistant, however.
“These are continuing examples of a systemic problem we have in this country,” he said. “It’s that our products are designed by adults for the use and convenience of adults.”
SOURCES: bit.ly/uFc4g2 Pediatrics, online November 11, 2014, and bit.ly/1uQ1I8J Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, October 2014.