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Children Are Still Eating, Being Poisoned by Laundry Detergent Packets

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Children continue to eat a dangerously large number of laundry detergent packets, according to poison control centers.

Calls increased 17% from 2013 through 2014, according to an analysis of national poison data published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, with more than 22,000 children, mostly under age 3, being exposed to laundry packets in that period.

These include cases of kids who stopped breathing, went into comas, or even suffered cardiac arrest -- and two children died.

Less severe injuries include vomiting, throat burns, and eye injuries.

Researchers say the laundry packets are more toxic than laundry powder or dishwasher packets because of their chemical composition and higher concentrated toxicity.

The packets, introduced in the United States in 2012 as a less messy alternative to detergent powder, may attract children with their colorful designs and strong fragrances.

Some contain only granules, but others contain liquid, which when ingested doubled a child's odds of being admitted to a medical facility, the data show.


The researchers' recommendation: Parents of children under age 6 should use traditional laundry detergent to wash clothes.

They also noted an additional 14% increase in calls to poison centers concerning exposures to detergent packets for dishwashers.

The vast majority of children get into detergent packets at home, when soap containers aren't stored out of sight, locked in a high cabinet or monitored closely while open.

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