As convenient as liquid laundry detergent pods may be, they can be equally harmful to children, especially for unsupervised toddlers that mistake them for toys or candy, say researchers. The warning comes after a team of physicians attributed a series of severe eye burns to laundry detergent pods mishandled by either the children’s parents or the kids themselves.
The physicians noted that no less than 1,200 preschoolers from across the country suffered vision-threatening burns over between 2012 and 2015. The number increased gradually starting with 2012 when only 12 cases of eye burns linked to liquid laundry detergent pods mishandling were reported in the U.S. The research has been published on February 2nd in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
According to Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Dr. Sterling Haring, the children mistook the cleaning products for toys or candy. Some of them played with the liquid detergent pods and broke their casing. Upon puncturing them, the chemicals inside squirted into their eyes. Another way as to how the kids suffered chemical burns to their eyes was by spilling the contents on their hands and then rubbing the detergent against their face by accident, says Dr. Haring.
In percentage points, the number of kids who suffered chemical burns upon mishandling the detergent pods rose from less than 1 percent in 2012 to roughly 26 percent in 2015. Unfortunately, as most people seem yet unaware to the dangers detergent pods pose to their kids, the researchers fear the number of kids suffering eye burns because of these products will rise over the years to come.
One good news is that the companies that manufacture detergent pods voluntarily introduced a safety standard for these products. The research looked at individuals subjected to the formula before such standards were implemented, said The American Cleaning Institute officials.
By the end of 2016, new batches of liquid detergent pods rolled out that were able to withstand squeezing pressure from a child, added The American Cleaning Institute representatives. Furthermore, the pods have been soaked in a bitter substance that acts as a repellent so children would refrain from attempting to eat them. Ultimately, the packaging is now opaque, preventing the children from seeing the contents.
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