“Liquid laundry packets are attractive to children as play items because they are soft and colorful and they resemble familiar items like candy, toys and teething products,” reads the alert.
Of the hundreds of pod-related incidents reported to CPSC this year, there have been cases of hospitalization due loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing.
“Because these packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands, or saliva, consumers are strongly urged to always handle laundry packets carefully and with dry hands,” writes the agency, which recommends the following:
1. Do NOT let children handle laundry packets.
2. Keep the liquid laundry packets sealed in their original packaging, and make sure they are locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
3. If swallowed or exposed to the eye, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.
“These pods may look like candy, but they’re toxic, and we’re seeing more reports of young children being harmed,” explains Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “In some cases, kids have been placed on ventilators or had surgery to treat swelling and ulceration injuries. We need manufacturers to make their products safer, and we need to take measures to educate people about the dangers and require better packaging and labeling.”
Procter & Gamble, makers of Tide and just about everything else in your laundry room or under your sink, has already redesigned the container for its tri-colored Tide pods to make it more difficult for children to open.
Senator Chuck “Charles” Schumer of New York has also been calling for manufacturers to rethink the design and packaging of these yummy looking pods.
“This Safety Alert should be a shot across the bow to companies making these alluring, brightly colored, yet poisonous products,” said Schumer in a statement. “I am pleased that the CPSC has decided to alert parents to the danger of these products, and I am urging that the next step is working with manufacturers to make sure the packaging prevents young children from consuming them.”
In a statement sent to Consumerist, the American Cleaning Institute, which represents detergent and cleaning product manufacturers, adds the following:
“All laundry and cleaning products should be kept out of sight and out of the reach of children… We agree that it is important to reiterate the messages for parents and caregivers on the steps they can take to keep detergent out of reach of children. Education is the key to prevention of injuries.”