Laundry detergent pods have become popular since they were first introduced in 2010. That's not surprising, as most of us like new things, especially if they are more convenient to use.
One major company even claims they spent years developing their pods, with over 6,000 consumers involved in their research and using over 450 packaging and product sketches.
Putting a safety expert on the team might have been a good idea, as a new report from the CDC, "Health Hazards Associated with Laundry Detergent Pods - United States, May-June 2012," reminds us all of the new hidden safety hazard of pods. It concluded that "laundry pod exposures might represent an emergent 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."
The report put a spotlight on four laundry pod exposures among the 485 that were reported in the month that these exposures were being tracked, including:
- a 20-month-old who ingested the liquid contents of a punctured laundry detergent pod
- a 15-month-old who was taken to the ER after biting into a laundry detergent pod
- a 17-month-old who bit into a laundry detergent pod and was intubated for a day and developed a swallowing dysfunction
- a 10-month-old who bit into a laundry detergent pod and was admitted to the ICU
Although one company has already tried to make their pods safer by adding a double latch to make the container lids harder to open, since these products have been available in Europe for 10 years, where the same types of safety hazards have been reported, why did we have to wait for problems to occur after the products were launched in the United States before improvements were made?
And since people still describe the pods as having a "candy-like appearance," why not change that appearance to make them less appealing to young children too?
In any case, parents should be aware that "exposure to laundry detergent from pods has been associated with more severe adverse health effects," and should keep them "out of reach and out of sight of children."