Parents, time to say goodbye to liquid laundry packets
As a father with three sons, I know how messy things can get.
My boys are an athletic crew. They play soccer, basketball, and they rough house on occasion. I’m not so much preoccupied with the rumble and tumble of their pre-teen years anymore, but the messy shorts, the cut up shirts and dirt stains are still as prevalent as ever.
Like most parents, my wife and I are acutely aware that stains require a good wash with a good detergent, yet I’ve always been skeptical of using laundry pods as our cleaning product of choice — if only because it feels like enabling a sketchy product with a shady history.
A study published last Thursday from JAMA Ophthalmology found that the proportion of chemical burns to the eye caused by packets jumped by nearly 32 percent between 2012 and 2015 among pre-school aged kids, and the American Association for Poison Control Centers notes that poison centers received well over 750 reports of exposure to highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger in January of 2017 alone. Last year, the center reported over 11,000 incidents of exposure, defined by the AAPCC as someone who “has had contact with the substance in some way; for example, ingested, inhaled, absorbed by the skin or eyes, etc. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses.”
The problem is (and always has been) the way laundry pods are packaged and sold. They are brightly colored, malleable and come dressed in plastic containers that could pass for some type of candy jar, almost enticing kids to reach for what’s inside.
Manufacturers of laundry packets have come under heavy scrutiny because of the pods’ candy-like appearance, which naturally draw the attention of children who don’t know any better. It’s become such a problem that in 2015 Representative Jackie Spier and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin sponsored the Poisoning and Child Safety Act, taking aim at that very issue.
With all that in mind, it almost behooves parents to think about doing away with laundry pods altogether. As a parent I’ve been fortunate. My kids have never ingested or been exposed to the dangers of pods, and they’re old enough now to know the difference. What is disconcerting is that thousands of families have dealt with this kind of thing, some to heartbreaking effect.
It’s just not worth the risk.