May 26, 2015 — Laundry pod poisonings are on the rise despite changes to packaging and labeling, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.
When single-use laundry detergent “pods” were introduced in 2012, they were sold in clear plastic containers that resembled candy jars, with flimsy flip-top lids. The pods were brightly-colored, candy-sized, sweet-smelling, and squishy, which made them especially appealing to children.
Each packet also contains a small amount of high-powered detergent, which makes it much more dangerous than traditional laundry detergent when swallowed or squirted into the eyes.
In response to criticism, most products were re-designed with opaque containers and child-resistant lids. Unfortunately, poisonings continue to occur.
Investigators found that at least seven people have died after biting into laundry pods, including four deaths last year and one earlier this year. While most deaths and serious injuries involved young children, two of the deaths involved adults with dementia or mental disabilities.
Every day, about 30 accidental exposures involving children under six years old have been reported to U.S. poison centers. Over 2,700 incidents have been reported this year alone. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of reported exposures nearly doubled from 6,343 to 11,714, according to the WSJ.
Proctor & Gamble, which owns nearly 80% of the laundry pod market with “Tide Pods” and other products, is already facing lawsuits from people who say the products are unreasonably dangerous. Manufacturers are accused of negligence for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the products.
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