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Home Safety Alert: Laundry Packet Poisoning

By Sophie Hull

Home Safety Alert: Laundry Packet Poisoning

Laundry Packets Pose Poisoning Risk

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported that children who are exposed to the chemicals in single-load liquid laundry packets are at risk of serious injury. Parents and caregivers are advised to lock up these laundry packets and keep them away from children to avoid poisoning.

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.

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. Eye contact with detergent from ruptured packets has also resulted in medical treatment.

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 recommends three safety steps to prevent unintentional poisonings and eye injuries related to single-load laundry packets:
1. Do NOT let children handle laundry packets.
2. Keep the liquid laundry packets sealed in their original packaging, and make sure they are locked up and out of a children’s sight and reach.
3. If swallowed or exposed to the eye, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.

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