There is a new concern for Nebraska families that use laundry detergent pods. Joan McVoy is a registered nurse and spokesperson for the Nebraska Regional Poison Center and says they issued warnings earlier that children were putting them in their mouths because they looked like candy.
The latest concern is with children squeezing them and the packet can burst and squirt them in the eye. McVoy says, “These detergents are encased in a water soluble membrane and they can burst open. These aren’t like the liquid detergent that comes in a bottle. They are super-charged, super concentrated detergent and since they are alkaline they have a chance to penetrate more quickly. They cause a lot of pain if children get them in the eye and if irrigation isn’t done immediately it can cause a bad chemical burn to the eye.”
In 2012, Poison Centers received twelve calls from parents reporting the pod detergent in a child’s eye. In 2015, that number increased to 480 calls. McVoy says calls in general about the pods have increased over the past few years for a number of reasons. In January, calls to Poison Centers across the country totaled almost 800 and last year there were nearly 12,000 calls.
McVoy says for several years health officials have issued warnings about the dangers of these pods around small children. A recent survey shows that 61% of those who use them still store them in reach of small children.
McVoy says it is very important to keep the number to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center handy at all times. That number is 1-800-222-1222.