Federal safety officials today issued a warning today about single-load liquid laundry packets, which have led to at least 500 incidents and have proven to be particularly attractive to children.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the the chemicals in the small dissolvable packets can cause serious injury. Some are toxic, the CPSC said.
Parents and caregivers should lock up the packets and keep them away from children, the CPSC said.
The colorful packets - which were released in the past year by a variety of brands - are attractive to children, the agency said, because they look like candy, toys and products used for teething.
Among children who have ingested the products, some had to be hospitalized after losing consciousness, suffering excessive vomiting, throat swelling and difficulty breathing. Adults have been injured, too.
"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," the CPSC said in its warning.
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum issued the following statement:
"Time in the laundry room should result in clean clothes, not a call to the poison control center and a trip to the emergency room. Ingestion and eye injuries involving laundry packets containing toxic chemicals are impacting kids and adults and becoming an emerging hazard nationwide. Reducing a child's exposure to these packets in particular is a must. I believe this can be achieved through a combination of safer packaging being used by all manufacturers of laundry packets and increasing consumer awareness of the dangers that these packets pose. CPSC is keeping all options on the table to tackle this product safety issue and protect consumers, including taking action under the Consumer Product Safety Act and the exploration of rulemaking under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act."
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com