The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an official safety alert on Tuesday that single-load liquid laundry packets are harmful to children.
"Children who are exposed to the chemicals in single-load liquid laundry packets
are at risk of serious injury. Some of the chemicals in these laundry packets are
toxic," the CPSC said in its statement.
Today's alert comes after months of media reports regarding the possible risk of the packets which are sold under various brand names. CPSC is advising parents and caregivers to lock up these laundry packets and keep them away from children.
"Liquid laundry packets are attractive to children as play items because they are soft
and colorful and they resemble familiar items like candy, toys and teething
products," the commission said.
In 2012 alone, CPSC staff has learned of about 500 incidents involving
children and adults who were injured by the product. Children have required
hospitalization from ingesting the product due to loss of consciousness, excessive
vomiting, drowsiness, throat swelling, and difficulty breathing (requiring intubation). Eye contact with detergent from ruptured packets has also resulted in medical treatment for severe irritation and temporary vision loss due to ocular
"Because these packets dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic
chemicals when contacted with water, wet hands, or saliva, consumers are strongly
urged to always handle laundry packets carefully and with dry hands," CPSC said in a written statement.
The commission made the following recommendations:
- Do NOT let children handle laundry packets.
- Keep the liquid laundry packets sealed in their original packaging,
- Make sure they are locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.
- If swallowed or exposed to the eye, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.