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Detergent packaging raises poisoning concerns

June 21, 2013 2:45:38 PM PDT
When it comes to laundry detergents, Consumer Reports finds some do a much better job cleaning your clothes. But there's another consideration these days - safety! Consumer Reports has been working to get detergent manufacturers to change some of their packaging.

Laundry detergent pods are a convenient way to do your laundry. No guesswork or measuring!

But as Consumer Reports has been reporting, the colorful pods can pose a danger to young children.

Poison control centers have received more than 95-hundred reports of children five and under coming in contact with or ingesting pods since early 2012.

Dr. Darshan Patel at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital has seen the problem firsthand.

"Kids are naturally drawn to them. And when they get them, they're water-soluble. So as soon as they go into the mouth, they start to dissolve," Dr. Patel said.

Pods from Tide and Costco's Kirkland Signature are top performers in Consumer Reports' cleaning tests, but their candy-like packaging and easy access are a real concern.

"Procter and Gamble, maker of Tide Pods, told us they would help address the problem by phasing out this clear plastic container, hopefully by the end of year," Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports said.

The new packaging - a container little ones can't see into. But Procter and Gamble says it has no plans to phase out Tide's easy-open pouch you can see into - which the company says some consumers prefer.

"We're concerned these appealing pods may still find their way into small children's hands," DiClerico said.

Then there's Costco's Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs that come in clear containers. They look a lot like those used for snack food, and they're easy to open, too.

"Costco also told us they'll be introducing an opaque container in August, followed by a child-deterrent lid, but not until early next year. The bottom line here is it's really important to keep all detergent out of the reach of curious children," DiClerico said.

If a small child ingests one of these pods, it can lead to excessive vomiting and has caused some victims to stop breathing. They can also cause serious eye injuries. If you suspect your child has come into contact with a detergent pod, call the poison-control hotline immediately at 800-222-1222.


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