In Spite of years of warning and change in package designs, reports of children harmed by liquid laundry packets continue to grow. It was revealed in Consumer Report’s which was out on Thursday. NonProfit Organizations are omitting the single use packets from its list of suggested detergents.
Ever since the detergent packets were introduced in 2012 and often they are called pods, concerns had been growing when the first reports of child poisoning and injuries first popped up. Numerous reports talk about how kids poke or bite through the thin and readily soluble packet membranes and get spurts of concentrated detergent into their throats or in the eyes.
10,877 calls were received by U.S. poison control centers about kids below the age of 6 who have ingested, inhaled or got the detergents on their skin. The calls increased in 2014, and they counted 11,714 such calls. In the first half of 2015 the count has reached 6,036, and it is only going to increase.
Effects of accidental ingestion are varied and include vomiting and coughing that are the commonest and in rare cases episodes of coma, seizures, and respiratory problems have also been reported. Consumer Reports have reported two deaths also.
Manufacturers have been doing their bit and have participated in public education campaigns. Manufacturers have also made the outer packages opaque and more difficult to open.
A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble which sells Tide, Gain and Ariel laundry packets, Katie Stahlheber said in an e-mail that reports of exposure involving Procter & Gamble products are falling and most of the incidents have been trivial. P&G has made changes in its pods adding bitter taste and making the cover harder to break.
The above changes have been made on a voluntary basis as per the new standard that has been introduced in Europe and is under review in The US. However, the standards do not include measures like adding individual wrappers for each packet that has been advocated by safety experts.
Parents and caregivers are the best line of defense, and it all comes down to keeping such products out of reach and sight of kids.