This article is about laundry detergent pods. I’m interested in this information, because I love this product, which has only been out for a few years now. They make laundry easier by taking away the need to measure liquid or powdered detergent. Just pop one out of the bag they’re purchased in and throw it in the wash. Unfortunately, this innocent looking product packs more danger than typical detergents, killing children and pets alike.
Children are attracted to laundry pods because of the bright colors. They look like candy. Dogs consider them a strange looking chew toy, and cats like to bat them around on the floor. The danger comes when the pod is punctured, usually by being bitten into. This isn’t your normal detergent. It’s highly concentrated and very powerful. Yet another reason people like me are hooked on them. Their ability to clean is yet another reason they’re so popular, as these products are physically dangerous due to strong acids, alkalis, or phosphates and the cationic detergents used to produce them. Only a thin dissolvable membrane stands between your child or pet and the danger of being harmed by the pod.
CBS News did an article in 2012 where the Center for Disease Control (CDC) broke the poisoning risk in children down into groups by age and found the average age the poisonings occurred was 3-years-old, compared with an average age of 7-years-old for non-pod detergent poisonings. Nearly 95% of poisoning were in children under 5.
Those in Europe have had these pods since around 2001, but they’re weren’t introduced to the United States until 2010. In August, 2013 the first death was reported in a child.
This YouTube video is a bit longer than I like to add to an article, but it includes a lot of information both parents and pet owners should know.
According to a March 2013 article by Consumer Reports:
“Swallowing conventional detergent might result in mild stomach upset, but with highly concentrated detergent pods the ingestion can cause excessive vomiting, lethargy, and gasping. In some reported cases, victims stopped breathing and required ventilation support.”
Manufacturer’s of laundry detergent pods are working to make the product less appealing to children, but they’re basically working on the packaging the pods are sold in. Proctor & Gamble plans to use a new container with a triple latch that almost meets the child-resistant standard. It’s also introducing an opaque container that will keep young children from thinking they’re a bag of candy. No plans are being made to change the tricolored, liquid-based formulation the pods are famous for. It’s also up to pet owners to keep the pods away from cats and dogs.
Some of the potentially deadly effects of laundry pod poisoning include
- Mental state changes-lethargy
- Respiratory distress-breathing difficulty, throat swelling
- Heart and blood-collapse, rapidly developing low blood pressure
- Eye, ear, nose and throat-loss of vision, severe pain in throat, severe pain or burning in nose, eyes, ears, lips or tongue
- Gastrointestinal issues-nausea and vomiting, blood in the stool, burns in the esophagus, severe abdominal pain
- Skin-burns, holes, irritation
- Blood-severe changes in pH balance of the blood, which damages all vital organs
If your child or pet has punctured the membrane and has eaten or been burned, seek help immediately. In case of ingestion, do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by poison control. Please share this article with your friends with young children or grandchildren, as well as those who own pets. Always store laundry detergent pods out of reach and locked away from curious hands.