28 Jun Laundry Pods Present Serious Risk of Poisoning To Children
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas Swain, MPH
Research Assistant, The Center for Injury Sciences,
Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care,
Department of Surgery
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL 35294
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Case reports show that the number of laundry pod detergent related cases is increasing rapidly and children are disproportionately affected by pod detergent. Pod detergent is highly concentrated and contained in a water-soluble membrane. Prior research of pod laundry detergent did not include regular, non-pod detergent; this exclusion rendered cases and severity of cases between the two incomparable. This study, comparing regular laundry detergent and pod detergent, from 2012-2014 in the United States, using national data from emergency department visits, found that children under 5 accounted for 93.8% of pod detergent related exposures and 71.8% of non-pod exposures. Importantly, 71.8% of pod exposures were diagnosed as poisoning while 72.2% of non-pod exposures were diagnosed as contact dermatitis. Those exposed to pods were 4.02 times as likely to be hospitalized, a marker for severe injury, when compared to non-pod detergent (OR: 4.02; 95% CI: 1.96-8.24).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: A greater effort should be made to appropriately educate the public about the dangers of laundry detergents, specifically pods, so a safe home environment can be established. While new regulations such as childproof containers, opaque packaging, and less appealing and colorful pods could reduce the number of pod-related emergency department visits for children, caregivers should store detergents, along with other chemicals, in a secure location where children cannot easily access them.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Research should be conducted following any changes in regulation of the product to determine the effectiveness of the regulation on reducing injuries. Future study into pods should always include regular detergent, so a comparative perspective is kept. Research would be improved if more detailed information was obtained from cases such as when and where the detergent was accessed and detailed diagnosis and hospital procedures.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Parents and caregivers should consider warnings from consumer safety groups; the current recommendation is pod detergent products should not be used in homes with children under 5.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Thomas A Swain, Gerald McGwin, Russell Griffin. Laundry pod and non-pod detergent related emergency department visits occurring in children in the USA. Injury Prevention, 2016; injuryprev-2016-041997 DOI:10.1136/injuryprev-2016-041997
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