CDC: Detergent pods 'an emerging public health hazard'

CDC: Detergent pods 'an emerging public health hazard'

EUGENE, Ore. - Pods holding laundry or dishwashing detergent may be convenient for adults, but they might look like candy to kids.   

During just one month last summer, poison centers across the country received more than a thousand phone calls about detergent exposure.

Most were calls for children under six, and almost half involved those tiny dissolvable packets called pods.
And children who ate pods were usually sicker than those who ingested other forms of detergent, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The report called exposure to pods "an emerging public health hazard in the United States."

"So it depends on how much they're ingesting," said Dr. Sandra Miller with Oregon Medical Group. "Usually we saw a lot of nausea and vomiting with it, and it would depend on how much they ate."

Norkenzie Christian Preschool worked with KVAL News to show a classroom of 3-year-olds an array of candy - and detergent pods.

From 18 pieces on the table - 15 pieces of candy and 3 pods - not one of the kids picked the pods as looking "tastiest."

But they didn't quite know why - and said the pods looked like candy.

No one wanted to taste, but they had no problem at all smelling the pods and determining they didn't smell tasty.

KVAL News also gave parents a look at the pods.

"That's a scary," said Roger McConnell, father of a 3-year-old. "It just looks very similar to candy."

"They also look like toys," said Cheryl Stephenson, parent of a 2-year-old, "and you know that kids put toys in their mouths, especially at this age, so I would totally see where she might put that in her mouth."

Dr. Miller said that if your child does happen to ingest a detergent pod, it's best to immediately call poison control at 1-800-222-1222 instead of driving to a doctor.

Detergent makers have responded to the concerns by stressing guidelines for the safe use and storage of the pods.