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CU: New CDC report on laundry detergent pods highlights child-safety risks

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Consumers Union: New CDC report on laundry detergent pods highlights child-safety risks, shows need for strong safety measures
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, today renewed its call for safety measures to address the growing problem of young children who ingest laundry detergent pods, pointing to a new report issued today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC report said exposure to laundry detergent in pods, especially among children up to 5 years old, is “an emerging public health hazard in the United States.”

The CDC said the pods may look like candy to children. The report cited poison-control-center data about recent injuries to children who are exposed to the toxic pods through ingestion and non-ingestion means. Exposure to laundry detergent from pods “appears to be associated with adverse health effects more often than does non-pod laundry detergent exposure,” the report said. The CDC advised adults to keep the pods out of reach and out of sight from children.

Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports, said, “The CDC report shines a spotlight on a serious problem. These pods may look like candy, but they’re toxic, and we’re seeing more reports of young children being harmed. In some cases, kids have been placed on ventilators or had surgery to treat swelling and ulceration injuries. We need manufacturers to make their products safer, and we need to take measures to educate people about the dangers and require better packaging and labeling.”

Last month, Consumers Union wrote the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to urge regulators to consider regulations to require adequate child-safe packaging, as well as prominent warning labels, for pods.

CU has called on manufacturers of laundry detergent pods to consider changing the color of these products or package them in opaque wrapping or plastic to make them less appealing to children. CU has also urged them to introduce safer containers. Procter and Gamble recently introduced a double-latch lid for its Tide Pods containers, but CU remains concerned that the old packing is still being sold in stores.


Media contacts: David Butler, or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262