Safety concerns over single-use laundry detergents pods escalated again today with an official alert from the Consumer Products Safety Commission advising parents and caregivers to lock up these products and keep them away from children. In September, Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, wrote the CPSC urging its staff to investigate the matter and consider stricter regulations.
Today's action by the CSPC stops short of our requests, though it underscores the dangers posed by single-use laundry detergent pods. The CPSC notes that in 2012 alone, there have been about 500 incidents involving children or adults who were injured by the product. We know that poison-control centers have received many more calls (upwards of 3,000 by September) regarding exposure to laundry pods involving children age five or younger.
Consumers Union will continue to call for adequate child-safe packaging, as well as prominent warning labels, for laundry detergent pods. And we'll keep on urging manufacturers to consider changing the color of these pods or package them in opaque wrapping or plastic that will make them less appealing to children.
In the meantime, the same warning we've issued for these products applies: If you choose to use detergent pods, it is essential that you keep them out of the reach of children. And if your child does ingest a pod, call the poison-control helpline immediately at 800-222-1222, since serious effects can happen very quickly.