Brightly colored all-in-one detergent pods pose a risk to the young children of adults who buy these products, a new study in the journal Pediatrics  has found. 


More than 17,000 children under the age of six were exposed to the laundry pods between 2012 and 2013, researchers found by tracking calls to poison control centers throughout the country. Most of the incidents involved a child placing the pod in their mouth or eye.

The study out of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, noted that the exposures led to 769 children in the U.S. being hospitalized. Thirty youngsters went into a coma and 12 suffered seizures after handling the plastic coated discs filled with various laundry ingredients.

One child died as a result of ingesting a pod.

Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s lead author, said that he has been in pediatric emergency medicine for more than three decades and had never seen so many children sickened by a laundry product.

"These are very different from traditional laundry detergent," he said of the pods. "Although we are not entirely sure why they are so toxic, we know that they are very concentrated and the chemicals they contain may not be identical to those found in liquid laundry detergent."

Only about half of the calls into a poison center about the laundry pod products resulted in a trip to the doctor or emergency room, Smith said. However, nearly two-thirds of the calls involved children between one and two years of age, he said.

The American Cleaning Institute, the trade group that represents most of the major laundry detergent manufacturers in the U.S., said makers of laundry pods have been working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to reduce the number of accidents involving their products.

Although Smith lauded the steps already taken by laundry detergent manufacturers, he said that they should go even further by stating in clear language and labeling the potential hazards of these products so parents "make informed decisions when deciding whether or not to purchase these products."



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