Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a new warning Tuesday about the dangers of laundry gel packets, saying that if children bite or even handle them, serious health problems may result. This new report follows a similar warning issued in September, which expressed concern for children because of the packets’ similar appearance to toys and teething products.
From the CPSC’s statement:
“In 2012 alone, CPSC staff has learned of about 500 incidents involving children and adults who were injured by the product. Children have required hospitalization from ingesting the product due to loss of consciousness, excessive vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing (requiring intubation). Eye contact with detergent from ruptured packets has also resulted in medical treatment for severe irritation and temporary vision loss due to ocular burns.
Because these packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands, or saliva, consumers are strongly urged to always handle laundry packets carefully and with dry hands.”
Image: Laundry gel packets, via USCPSC on Flickr
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Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Laundry gel packs or pods are small, squishy, and brightly colored, making them look and feel a lot like candy. But a new report warns that children who bite into these concentrated detergent capsules can become seriously ill. WebMD has details:
A bite into the packs can cause drooling and vomiting and may burn the mouth, throat, eyes, and lungs.
“Certainly, the children we’ve seen have had pretty severe injuries from chemical contact with the soaps,” says Lyndsay Fraser, MD. Fraser is an ear, nose, and throat doctor at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, Scotland.
In the new report, Fraser and her colleagues describe the cases of five children treated in the emergency room after biting into laundry detergent capsules.
All the children were younger than age 2. The oldest was released after treatment with steroids and antibiotics. The others needed breathing tubes to prop open their swollen and damaged airways. One needed surgery. All eventually recovered.
The report is published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
The National Association of Poison Control Centers (NAPCC) says this is an increasingly common problem in the United States; there are almost 3,000 reports so far this year of children ingesting laundry packs, WebMD reports. The NAPCC issued an alert about this problem in May, prompting Tide to change the design of its Pods container so that it’s harder for kids to open.
If you find your child with a gel pack in his mouth, poison experts recommend that you call poison control at 800-222-1222.
Image: Laundry gel capsules via Shutterstock.
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