Doctors warn parents to stop buying laundry pods

Laundry detergent makers introduced miniature packets in recent months such as this one photographed Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Houston. But doctors across the country say children are confusing the tiny, brightly colored packets with candy and swallowing them. Nearly 250 cases have been reported to poison control centers. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Consumer Reports want parents with children under the age of six to stop buying laundry detergent pods. That announcement was released Thursday after growing concern over accidental poisoning cases were called in to various American Association of Poison Control Centers.

In 2012 and 2013, researchers conducted a two-year nationwide study that reviewed more than 17,000 incidents, all involving a children exposed to the colorful capsules that resulted in harm. In 2015, a little over 6,000 cases were reported and the year isn’t over yet.

In many of the reports, children thought they were unwrapping a piece of candy. Local pediatrician Dr. Toya Corbitt said these reports needs to be taken seriously.

“I agree with the recommendations. I don’t think parents with children age six and under should have them even hidden. It is not worth the risk,” said Dr. Corbitt.

Procter & Gamble released a statement regarding their efforts to help safeguard children:

We take every incident of accidental exposure seriously and believe these accidents are preventable. Less than 1% of the calls to Poison Control centers were related to laundry pacs, and the vast majority of these calls to Poison Control centers resulted in minor or no medical treatment. Today, we are seeing encouraging signs that the rate of accidents relative to the number of P&G laundry pacs sold is declining at a rate of 28 percent. New products often require new use and storage habits, and this data suggests that industry-wide efforts to increase education and improve packaging are working. We will continue efforts to promote safe use and storage, and to raise public awareness of the importance of precaution – not just under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, but wherever laundry products are stored.

P&G has taken a number of steps to help prevent accidental access, including a TV and print advertising campaign promoting safe use and storage of laundry packets along with educational content on our brand and partner websites and social media pages. We’ve partnered with organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide, the American Association of Pediatrics and the American Cleaning Institute to share information through their networks and websites.

We have made the packaging opaque so contents are not visible and developed a more secure package closure with three safety latches that are difficult for children’s smaller hands to open.  This package also includes prominent safety warnings on the label to keep out of reach of children.   We will continue efforts to promote safe usage and storage to raise public awareness of the importance of precaution – not just under the kitchen and bathroom sinks – but wherever laundry products are stored.

Additionally, we have taken a leadership role with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Poison Control centers, consumer advocacy groups, and other manufacturers to establish common safety standards for all liquid laundry detergent pacs through the American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM) forum.  In this forum, the work group evaluated a number of safety enhancements for the packaging and the form, taking special care to not create unintended consequences for the majority of consumers who use laundry pacs safely.

Today, laundry pacs are used in over 26 million US households and are growing in popularity because they are innovative, convenient and more sustainable.   We will continue to work with these groups to establish common standards and ongoing education programs that help prevent accidental access to these products, and to engage with stakeholders including legislators.”

If your child is exposed to the laundry detergent, the national Poison Help Hotline is 800-222-1222.

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