A new study featured in Pediatrics found that certain types of laundry detergent may pose a threat to children’s health. According to researchers, laundry pods are more dangerous for kids than other types of dishwasher and laundry detergent.
But what exactly is the risk here? After sifting through more than 62,000 calls made to U.S. poison control centers, it was clear. The study period was from January 2013 through December 2014.
Researchers were surprised to see that 60 percent of the calls related to laundry and dishwasher detergent exposure involved children aged 6 and younger who had ingested detergent pods. These small gel packets contain a single load of highly concentrated detergent.
Of the total number of calls, almost half of them had to be referred to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.
This percentage was significantly higher than those for calls related to exposures to traditional laundry detergent (17 percent), dishwasher detergent pods (5 percent), or regular dishwasher detergent (4 percent).
What’s more, young children also presented serious health effects, including trouble breathing, heart problems, coma, and death. The results of the study suggest laundry pods are a dangerous threat to children, increasing their risk of hospitalization.
Co-author of the study Dr. Marcel J. Casavant said that a lot of families are unaware of the toxicity and the risk involved in these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets.
“Use traditional laundry detergent when you have young kids in your home. It isn’t worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available,” he added.
Unfortunately, the report showed that exposure to laundry pods has seen a dramatic increase; these incidents implicated the majority of calls made to poison control.
To put things in perspective, these centers reported more than 30 calls a day about children exposed to laundry pods, which is the equivalent of one call every 45 minutes.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), more than 6,000 calls were made to poison control centers nationwide from January to June 2015 in relation to young children inhaling, ingesting or getting the content of the laundry pods in their eyes.
To curb these incidents, the Consumer Reports made the decision in 2017 to not include laundry pods from their list of recommended laundry detergents.
Also in 2017, the ASTM International took action against the increasing incidents by issuing the Standard Safety Specification for Liquid Laundry Packets.
While this first step is definitely right, Dr. Gary Smith, senior author of the study, says that manufacturers might eventually need to find safer ways to make this product, should the high number of incidents doesn’t go down.
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