Laundry Detergent Packets Still Poison Kids, Despite Tougher Standards

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Gary A. Smith

Dr. Gary Smith

Dr. Gary Smith, MD MPH
Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Columbus, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our 2016 study (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/5/e20154529) investigated calls to US poison control centers related to laundry and dishwasher detergent exposures among children younger than 6 years old from 2013 through 2014 and found that poison control centers received more than 30 calls a day about children who had been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, which is about one call every 45 minutes.

The current study investigated trends in calls to poison control centers across the country for exposure to liquid laundry detergent packets in order to evaluate the impact of the voluntary safety standard for this product with a focus on young children. The study found only a modest decrease (18%) in calls for children younger than 6 years of age following adoption of a 2015 product safety standard as well as an increase in calls for older children and adults. Exposures to the eyes also continued to climb.

The observed decrease in exposures among young children is considerably less than the 40% to 55% decrease in toxic ingestions seen after passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. This demonstrates that the current liquid laundry detergent safety standard is inadequate and needs to be strengthened. Continue reading