A study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that in 2013–2014 over 60,000 kids were poisoned after ingesting laundry and dishwasher detergent pods. The study focused on all forms of detergents, but the pods were most ingested by children. The pods look and smell like candy so kids want to eat them. What is so dangerous about the pods is that they contain highly concentrated detergent. It has been reported that children who have ingested them suffered from respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest, coma and two children died.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned about the dangers of laundry packets and sent out alerts to help warn people of the dangers. Because the pods are so dangerous, Consumer Reports will no longer recommend them.
Detergent makers have added a bitter tasting coating to the pods and made the packaging difficult for children to open. A bill was introduced in February 2015 to Congress that requires the CPSC to establish safety standards for liquid detergent packets to protect children who are younger than five years of age from injury or illness and to require special packaging and warning labels, standards to make the color and design of packets less attractive to children, and liquid composition standards to make the consequences of exposure less severe.
Until there is a solution, experts say that keeping the detergents out of the reach of children is the best solution. If you suspect your child has been poisoned by ingesting laundry pods, the symptoms to look for are coughing, vomiting and drowsiness. Call your local poison center immediately 800–222-1222 immediately if you suspect a child has ingested detergent.