Y!: Rise in Kids Eating Laundry Detergent “Pods” That Look Like Candy

29 06 2012

By Lisa Collier Cool
Jun 26, 2012

Sweet-smelling and colorful, but toxic, single-use laundry detergent packs or “pods” are causing a rising rate of poisoning in kids who confuse them for candy. In the past 72 hours alone, nine childhood poisonings of toddlers (typical age 23 months) have been reported to the California Poison Control System (CPCS).

Detergent “pods,” like the Tide PODS detergent pack pictured, are under scrutiny for looking too delicious.

Richard Geller, MD, MPH—Medical Director, California Poison Control System, Children’s Hospital, Madera—reports that accidental poisonings linked to detergent pods are becoming increasingly frequent, with 82 cases in California through the end of May. Nationally, at least 250 cases have been reported to poison control centers this year, most of them since March when the products began to hit grocery store shelves.

All of the latest childhood poisonings required emergency evaluation and treatment, with six of them linked to Tide Pods, two to Purex Ultra Packs, and one to All Mighty Paks. So far, no deaths have been reported, but nationally, a number of kids have required hospitalization—sometimes on ventilators—for several days after eating detergent pods.

All of those kids are now out of the hospital, with no long-term health problems or complications reported. Typically their symptoms cleared up in one week or less. Other pod-poisoning cases were successfully treated at home, with the parents following advice from poison control centers, or the kids were evaluated and treated in emergency rooms without the need for a hospital stay.

Toxic Soap Confused with Candy

“Poison control centers are seeing more pediatric poisonings from laundry detergent this year, and the children exposed are sicker than those ingesting the older powdered products,” Dr. Geller says. “The pods are brightly colored and resemble candy packaging, making them more attractive to kids than a box of powder.”

Dr. Geller’s research found that the two most common single-dose detergent brands that children are getting into are Tide Pods Detergent and Purex Ultra Packs. Many other brands are marketed, and all should be considered hazardous to kids, he emphasizes.

“If you look at the Tide Pods, they’re bright blue and bright red and they look very similar to some of the ribbon candy,” Julie Weber, director of the Missouri Poison Control Center in St. Louis, told MSNBC.

(Full Story)





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