Laundry Detergent Packets Are Putting Children’s Health At Risk: Study

Posted: Apr 25 2016, 9:55am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 25 2016, 10:01am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Laundry Detergent Packets are Putting Children’s Health at Risk: Study
Credit: American Cleaning Institute

Exposure to laundry detergent packets is more dangerous for young kids (under age 6) than other types of laundry and dishwasher detergent

An increasing number of children are ingesting laundry detergents which can damage their health and even result in fatal consequences.

A new study has found that Poison Control Centers in United States received more than 62,000 calls regarding accidental exposure to laundry and dishwasher detergents among young kids from 2013 through 2014. More significantly, laundry detergent packets accounted for 60% of all calls and almost half of the patients (45%) were required to rash to the health care facility for treatment. The data shows a 17% rise in the cases of laundry detergent packet exposure while a significant increase was also observed in all forms of detergents, 4% rise in traditional dishwasher detergent cases and 5% in dishwasher detergent packets.

“This national study demonstrates that pediatric laundry detergent packet exposures are more severe than laundry detergent nonpacket and dishwasher detergent exposures…There were 117 children who required intubation and 104 of these were exposed to laundry detergent packets. There were two deaths and both were associated with laundry detergent packets." Study reads.

Laundry detergent packets also known as laundry pods are a new innovation in which each packet contains a load of highly concentrated detergents. 

Some laundry detergent packets consist of only granules while others have liquid inside them which can prove dangerous for health if not safely stored or handled properly. Eighty-five percent of kids directly took laundry detergent into the body through mouth instead of exposing it to visible parts of the body like eyes or face. The ingestion can result in coma, trouble breathing, heart problems and even death.

“Many families don't realize how toxic these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are," said co-author Marcel J. Casavant from Nationwide Children's Hospital and Central Ohio Poison Center. "Use traditional laundry detergent when you have young kids in your home. It isn't worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available.”

Researchers suggest that safety of the children can be ensured if parents and other family members take some precautionary measures. People who have young kids in their house should use traditional laundry detergent which is less toxic than laundry detergent packets. Keep detergent packets out of reach and sight of the children and preferably locked them inside a cabinet. Put the packets away immediately after the use.

Lead author of the study Dr. Gary Smith says. “There is no reason why children should be rushed to hospitals in a coma and with a swelling down their lungs and we have to intubate them. There is no reason why children should die when we have effective, safer alternatives for detergents.” 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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