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Laundry Pods Revisited :

June 3, 2019

In 2014, we published a study (10.1542/peds.2014-0057) noting the dangers of laundry pods which got lots of national attention. Not only was awareness raised about toxic ingestion of these detergents, but ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) also offered voluntary product safety standards that many companies subsequently adopted.

In 2014, we published a study (10.1542/peds.2014-0057) noting the dangers of laundry pods which got lots of national attention. Not only was awareness raised about toxic ingestion of these detergents, but ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) also offered voluntary product safety standards that many companies subsequently adopted. So did the number of exposures to liquid laundry detergent packets from 2012 to 2017 decrease?  Gaw et al. (10.1542/peds.2018-3117) decided to study the trends by reviewing data from the National Poison Data System from 2012 to 2017.  Prior to 2015 (the year after public awareness about this problem was raised), the number of exposures increased by over 100% per year, but after 2015, this increase stopped, and the number of exposures actually decreased (although modestly –by only 18%) in children <6 years of age as well as hospital admissions for a laundry pod exposure in this young age group.  Unfortunately, in individuals over 6 years of age, the number and rate of exposures continued to increase.  The reasons for this are highlighted in the discussion section of this paper as well as some recommendations to toughen the voluntary standards and make them more required.  Laundry pods and their exposure risks have not gone away—and the clean look this study provides on the ongoing dangers they demonstrate—may be just what we need to advocate even more strongly for better safety standards for these products.

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