Laundry detergent pods more dangerous than traditional detergent: study

liquid detergent

Photo: juan moyano/iStockphoto

Columbus, OH – Parents of young children have even more reason to be concerned about laundry detergent pods: New research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital shows that the pods, already a safety and health risk to young children, can be more harmful than other types of detergent.

Researchers used data from the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center to examine 62,254 calls to poison control centers about children younger than 6 who were exposed to laundry and dishwasher detergent. Results showed that every day from January 2013 to December 2014, at least one child was hospitalized for exposure to laundry detergent pods – a 17 percent increase. Two children died.

“Many families don’t realize how toxic these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are,” Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, study co-author, chief of toxicology at the hospital and medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, said in a press release.

Children exposed to laundry detergent pods experienced the “most serious” clinical effects, including coma, heart problems and difficulty breathing, according to the press release. The risk of having a serious medical outcome was much higher for children exposed to the pods.

Casavant recommends that families with young children use traditional laundry detergent. “It isn’t worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available,” he said.

Additional tips:

  • Keep the packaging for laundry detergent pods tightly closed.
  • Store laundry detergent “up, away, and out of sight,” preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Save the Poison Control number – (800) 222-1222 – in your cell phone and keep it near your home phone.

The study was published online April 25 in the journal Pediatrics.

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