Study finds increase in exposure to laundry detergent packets among older children

In this Thursday, May 24, 2012, file photo, a warning label is attached to a package of Tide laundry detergent packets in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new study investigated trends in calls to poison control centers across the country for exposure to liquid laundry detergent packets.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center conducted the study.

It found a modest decrease in calls for children younger than 6 years of age following the adoption of a 2015 product safety standard but an increase in calls for older children and adults.

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There was an average of one call about every 42 minutes in 2017 to the poison control center related to liquid laundry detergent packets.

"The voluntary standard, public awareness campaigns, and product and packaging changes to-date are good first steps, but the numbers are still unacceptably high," said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "We can do better."

The study authors suggest that detergent makers reformulate the pods and create a standard packaging that makes them childproof.