Detergent Pods Pose Risk to Children, Study Finds


NY Times:

Detergent Pods Pose Risk to Children, Study Finds

Since the introduction of colorful, single-load packets of laundry detergent in 2012 through the end of 2013, more than 17,000 children under age 6 ate or inhaled the contents or squirted concentrated liquid from a packet into their eyes, researchers reported Monday.Their study is the first to compile all cases reported to the National Poison Data System, confirming fears that accidental poisonings with laundry packets, which many households choose for their convenience, are not uncommon. Because reporting to the database is voluntary, the figure is likely an underestimation, several experts said. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

Critics contend that some brightly colored packets too closely resemble candy or a teething toy. Two years ago, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested the packets “might represent an emerging public health concern.”
“These 17,000 children we found amounts to one child every hour being exposed to one of these laundry pod products,” said Dr. Marcel J. Casavant, a study author and the medical director of the poison center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “That’s a very different order of magnitude than other hazards.”

Most of the cases occurred among children aged 1 or 2, and nearly 80 percent involved ingestion of the contents of a packet. Two deaths of children have been confirmed, one in Florida and another in New Jersey.
Most commonly, children vomited, became lethargic, irritated their eyes, coughed or choked, the researchers found. About 6,000 were seen in emergency rooms. About 750 were hospitalized, and half required intensive care. The laundry packets tend to burst in a child’s mouth, and the concentrated contents can be swallowed all at once.

It doesn’t help that these things look like candy.


My question is, who on earth leaves their laundry detergent within reach of their children (whatever the form that detergent may be in)?

I have noticed that these pod things have started coming with larger warning labels to keep away from children, so I figured something like this must have happened. Very sad.


I’ve wondered the same thing


Definitely something that should be kept out of reach right along with the bleach and drain cleaner.


What’s the appeal of the pods? Is it that tough to pour out a half-cup of detergent in a measuring cup and pour it into the washer? Or is this a reflection of the American love for pre-packaged, no muss no fuss, kinds of things?


I LOVE the pods. Saves time and no mess. I’m all about convenience and making life easier when possible.

My old washer/dryer set had dry laundry detergent all over them that were the result of spills and drips. No matter what I did, there was a mess. Now that I have my new set, I refuse to buy the old stuff and stick with the pods. Three years later, my set is still shiny and pretty.:thumbsup:


As a college student, pods are way easier than the big bulky bottles and jugs of detergent, to use and to store. I have the laundry ones and the dishwasher ones. Don’t have to worry about spilling anything or finding a place to store it. Just shove the box into a corner and pull one out when I need to wash things. Of course, as a college student, children aren’t really in danger of eating them at my house, seeing as there are no children.

I can understand why they would want to eat them though. Honestly I’ve been tempted to try it myself. :smiley: Granted, I was the kind of kid that, even though I knew better, always wished bath beads and fake grapes were edible.


Yeah, I can see them being a lot more convenient for college kids or anyone else who has to use public laundry facilities.

They can be convenient and I think it helps me to portion out my laundry detergent much more (as I have the tendency to err on the side of too much). We stocked up on them only because my wife likes to coupon and there was a period of time when they were new when the coupons and sales matched up very well to make them very cheap. Of course, I’ve had a few times where the pod hasn’t dissolved completely and then some gunky residue stuck to some articles of clothing. So we have started piercing the pods as we throw them in the washing machine, which sort of nullifies the “less messy” selling point. :stuck_out_tongue: But since we started doing that, we haven’t had those issues, so we have continued to do that.

But they are definitely not within reach of our children.


I thought it was common sense to keep cleaning supplies out of the reach of children. If you don’t have the sense to keep chemicals away from kids, you shouldn’t reproduce. Wait until you are mature enough.


I thought everyone kept that stuff on top of dryer or like me, a shelf above the washer. I fail to see how these get within reach of 1 year olds.


I’ve never had a problem with them not dissolving in the wash. I have had that problem with the dishwasher pods, though, but I think that’s more because my dishwasher is a piece of junk. It might be the brand you’re using or your machine.


Yep definitely a plus if you have to haul laundry to a laundromat. Quick and easy.


You’re probably right. I think it might have been a bad bag of them. Or maybe I just through my clothes in the washer too quickly. :o


I hate doing laundry, I’m always tossing my clothes in too quickly, lol…like let’s get this stupid chore over with as fast as possible: open lid, dump armful of clothes, toss in pod, hit start, then onto watching General Hospital. :o


:smiley: I just noticed that I totally misspelled “throw.” :o


Well don’t feel bad because I’ve recently caught myself misusing there, their, and they’re and not even realizing it until after I’ve hit POST.

So irritating…especially since that’s one of my biggest pet peeves that I see other people do. I think I’m losing my marbles.

Maybe it’s all this darn laundry that’s frying my brain.


You aren’t supposed to eat the pods! lol. :D:p


I dropped a pod to the floor today as I was trying to get it into the washing machine. Naturally, I picked it up immediately. A busy mother could get distracted and forget to pick it up. All mothers know how easy it is to get distracted with little knee biters around.

I recommend parents of youngsters not buy pods simply because they are packaged like candy.


Well I guess now I know where I went wrong, lol:D


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit