New laundry detergent capsules are brightly colored and exciting making them look a lot like a product designed to attract children: candy. However, the attraction is proving to be quite dangerous. The detergent makes children violently ill and could bring up product liability issues. Parents in Florida may want to pay close attention to claims that the product is attracting children and then making them unusually sick if ingested.
As it is right now, even the container is appealing to young kids. Without improved packaging, a child can easily access the pods of detergent. While the company puts a warning label on the detergent pods, it is the same standard warning label that is on all household chemicals. There are no additional warnings that ingesting this specific product may result in many more illnesses, and more serious illnesses, than may be experienced with other laundry detergents.
Toxicologists have not determined what ingredient in the detergent packets is making children so sick. According to media sources, other types of laundry detergents give a child an upset stomach and sometimes no symptoms at all if it is ingested. Yet, these pods of detergent seem to make children violently ill very quickly.
The American Association of Poison Control has reported that there has been a surge in phone calls about the detergent packets making children ill enough that they must go to the hospital. Some children have been intubated or placed on a ventilator because they were poisoned after biting into the detergent packets.
A spokesperson for the detergent company says its products are free of enzymes and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because they recognize safer chemistry.
The detergent company says that they do have plans to improve the design of the packaging to make them child proof. While improving the design and accessibility of the container is a good move, it does not address the issue with why the children are getting so sick. Obviously, it is good to keep chemicals and toxic products away from children, but if there is reason to suspect a product is needlessly harmful or defective, a company may be held responsible for any adverse reactions to the product.
Source: ABC News, “Laundry Detergent Pods Poisoning Children,” Linsey Davis, May 23, 2012