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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Good For Cleaning….and Yummy Looking Too!

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Liquid laundry pods entered the market in 2010 as single-use laundry packs for convenience, but did you know it has also posed serious health risks to young children? Take a look – which ones are pods and which are candy?

candy and pods

Maybe you know, but most little children can’t tell the difference. All their sparkling eyes see is brightly-colored wrapped candy.

In September 2012, Consumer Reports called on manufacturers to make pods safer. Many responded by making outer packages opaque and harder to open. Some companies said they plan to coat their product in a bitter-tasting substance, so if children do get a hold of them, they won’t want to keep the pod in their mouth.

Despite the efforts thus far, too many children are still being injured every year. In 2013, poison-control centers nationwide logged 10,877 calls about children under age six who ingested, inhaled or got detergent from the packets on their skin; in 2014, the number increased to 11,714 such calls. With 6,036 calls reported in the first half of 2015 alone, the trend is only going up. Since 2013, at least two children have died after ingesting a pod.

According to the National Poison Data System, children who ingest detergent from the pods can experience vomiting, chemical burns, respiratory problems, seizures, loss of consciousness and fluid in the lungs. If their eye accidentally comes into contact with the pods, exposure can cause severe irritation or even a temporary loss of vision.

While education is also important, it can only go so far. Even the most watchful of parents may turn their backs for a moment, which is enough time for a child to become seriously injured from a laundry detergent package. In order to keep our children safer, lawmakers hope to pass the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act of 2015 (Detergent PACS Act of 2015) that would further improve the packaging on laundry pods, making them less appealing and accessible to children. The law would require that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):

  • Require special packaging and warning labels.
  • Set standards to make the color and design of packets less attractive to children.
  • Require liquid composition standards to make the consequences of exposure less severe.

Despite this push for protection, the best line of defense is too keep the pods out of your home; the added convenience is not worth the danger. Now is a perfect time to start given the fact that most homes will soon have an assortment of candies from their little trick-or-treaters.

If these single-load laundry packets are still your go-to, here are recommendations from the American Cleaning Institute.

  • Always keep them safely away from children, out of reach or locked in cabinets and drawers.
  • Do not let children handle laundry packets
  • Do not puncture or pull packets apart
  • Store out of child’s sight and reach
  • Keep the container closed and dry
  • Packets quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands, or saliva
  • Packets can rupture, releasing contents into eyes
  • If you think a child has been exposed to a single-load liquid laundry packet, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.