A new warning is out for parents with young children and who use single-load laundry pods. The child is mistaking this brightly colored pod for a piece of candy and is putting them at a poisoning risk by ingesting them. The water-soluble membrane around the laundry detergent pod dissolves when in contact with moisture leaving the child vomiting and being hospitalized.
The CDC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) worked together to develop a new poison control code for laundry detergent single-load pods to better track the poisonings within the National Poison Data System. With this new unique code for laundry detergent pods, poison control staff members were able to identify and track laundry detergent pod-related calls better into the National Poison Data System.
They began tracking and characterizing reported exposures to laundry detergent from pods on May 17, 2012. Between May 17 and June 17, 2012, poison centers reported 1,008 laundry detergent exposures to the National Poison Data System (NPDS). Of those exposures, 485 (48%) involved laundry detergent pods. Each age was recorded for 481 exposures and of which 454 (94%) of those involved children 5 years and younger. Among those children aged under 5 years old exposed to laundry detergent from pods had gastrointestinal and respiratory adverse health effects and mental status changes compared with those with non-pod laundry detergent exposures.
Vomiting, coughing, choking, eye irritation or pain, and drowsiness or lethargy were the most commonly reported symptoms related to detergent pod exposure.
The poison control code also helped the agencies find and report that, in addition to the most commonly reported symptoms of: vomiting, coughing, choking, eye irritation or pain, and drowsiness or lethargy with laundry detergent pod exposure; pod content consumption also caused: eye, skin, and inhalation.
In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the CDC, they reported, “Clinicians should be aware that all household cleaning products and detergents have the potential to cause illness, but that laundry detergent pod exposures might represent an emerging public health concern because laundry pod exposures had an increased frequency of adverse signs, symptoms, and health outcomes versus non-pod laundry detergent exposures in a vulnerable population. Parents and caregivers should be particularly aware that young children might be drawn to laundry detergent pods because of their candy-like appearance, and that exposure to laundry detergent from pods has been associated with more severe adverse health effects. Parents need to ensure they can prevent children from gaining access to household cleaning products, particularly laundry detergent pods. Clinicians and caregivers are encouraged to report laundry detergent exposures and cases of associated illness to their local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222.”