Kids are eating miniature laundry detergent packs, which arrived on store shelves in recent months, after mistaking the brightly colored plastic packets as candy.
The miniature packs are a clean alternative to powder or liquid detergents, and are more convenient, according to Fox News. Mini dish detergent packs have been around for a few years, but companies like Tide have come out with the packs for laundry in the past few months.
While they are a nice, convenient alternative, the small, brightly colored packages have confused many children, with almost 250 cases being reported to poison control centers already, after kids have ingested the toxic soap.
Although these cases are a small fraction of the thousands received each year, doctors are concerned that they will see even more come through, according to The Huffington Post.
While no deaths have been reported so far, they are concerned with the fact that the symptoms (nausea and breathing problems) are more severe than a typical detergent poisoning, reports Fox News.
CBS News reports that Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a Dallas toxicologist and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center stated:
“We’re not quite sure why it’s happening, but we’ve clearly had some kids who have become much more ill. We look at these pods as being clearly more dangerous than the standard detergent.”
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told HealthPop, according to CBS News, that:
“These pods are quite dangerous if ingested, mainly due to the risk of vomiting which can ultimately lead to aspiration of the product into the lungs with resulting difficulty breathing. The end result can potentially lead to children requiring a ventilator if the reaction to the detergent is severe enough.”
Fox News reports that Paul Fox, who is a spokesman for Proctor & Gamble tide’s parent company) stated that Tide is working with poison control centers, as well as advocacy groups, to make sure parents know more about the risks of poisoning and laundry detergent.
According to Fox News, Kiem Ho, vice president for marketing at Purex, stated:
“This is a new form of laundry product and we will continue to join other manufacturers to safeguard and educate consumers on the correct storage and use of these products in the home.”
Ho also stated that its UltraPaks packaging already comes with warning labels to keep out of reach of children.