Laundry Pod Danger to Kids, Adults with Dementia
In 2015, the non-profit Consumer Reports announced it was removing the colorful, single-use packets of laundry detergents from its list of recommended detergents, calling them, “Too dangerous to use.” Since then, in addition to accidents involving children, incidents involving adults with dementia have also been reported. In response, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), in conjunction with laundry packet manufacturers, is launching its PACKETS UP! program, with the www.packetsup.com website, to help reduce the number of serious accidents and deaths from the convenient laundry packets. The website offers an infographic and other resources to provide parents and caregivers with information on the proper usage, storage, and handling of these popular products. The PACKETSUP! website also features insights from ACI’s 2017 laundry safety survey, which shows 43% of families with children under the age of four store the laundry pods in a place where the kids can see them. Packets in view tempt children to try to reach and play with them. The ACI says laundry packet manufacturers are fully committed to “reducing accidental access” to the pods, and have voluntarily set safety standards and made changes to packaging. These changes include adding a bitter taste to the outer packaging film to discourage ingestion, opaque coverings to decrease attractiveness to kids and confused adults, safety latches on packet containers and enhanced warning labels. Symptoms of inhalation and ingestion of packet contents include coughing, vomiting, and in rare cases seizures, breathing problems and coma. Several deaths of both children and adults with dementia have been reported. Both Consumer Reports and the ACI agree the bottom line is to keep all cleaning products out of reach and sight of children and adults with dementia. Consumer Reports, however, goes further in recommending the laundry pods be kept entirely out of homes with children and susceptible adults, noting, “The added convenience is not worth the danger.”
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