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Laundry Detergent Pods Poisoning Lawsuit
According to an article in the Huffington Post, a young boy in Florida saw something that looked to him like candy. It was actually a candy-colored laundry detergent pod. The boy ate it and died. According to the Florida Poison Information Center (FPIC), the boy’s death was one of the first in the United States that resulted from swallowing a laundry detergent pod. Since then, the FPIC has been receiving hundreds of similar exposure reports each year. Nationwide there are thousands of reports annually from poison control centers concerning laundry pods being consumed by children. There have been a number of product liability lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of laundry detergent pods. The exact number is difficult to determine.
Laundry Detergent Pods
These capsules are the size of golf balls and contain a highly concentrated liquid detergent. They are covered in a film that is water-soluble. The pods will burst if they are bitten into. This will send their contents quickly down a child’s throat. In many cases, the detergent will obstruct a child’s airway. It can also burn their eyes as well as skin. The pods break quickly, and the damage they cause happens instantly. According to an article on WWLP.com, “A number of children come in (hospital) after having ingested some detergent pods, or biting into them and breathing in the detergent into their lungs causing either burns in their mouth, their digestive, respiratory depression or even respiratory failure,” said Dr. Joeli Hettler of Baystate Medical Center.
There have been major injuries experienced by the children who have swallowed laundry detergent pods. Product liability lawyers are reviewing the situation. Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of families of children who were injured after eating a detergent pack or had it get into their eyes. Attorneys are able to show that most of the serious injuries could have been avoided if the laundry packs were not marketed in colorful containers that resemble the packaging of candy or toys. Families could have been saved from experiencing a major injury if the manufacturer had placed sufficient warnings on them. Warnings that explained exactly how important it is to keep the laundry detergent packs out of the reach of children. The CDC has determined that detergent pods are a serious public health hazard. The number of injuries from them are increasing around the United States.
The American Association of Poison Control (AAPCC) and The Center for Disease Control (CDC) actively monitor the number of children affected with laundry detergent poisoning. Since 2012 poison control centers around the United States have been treating approximately 10 cases of poisoning from laundry detergent pods each day. It is estimated that 50 percent of all cases involve children swallowing the soap from laundry detergent pods. It has been estimated that over 93 percent of the cases involved children less that 6 years old or older. Combined with the number of cases involving children less than 5 years old, this age group accounted for 98 percent of poisoning incidents from detergent pods.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
In 2012, the CPSC issued a safety alert concerning laundry detergent pod poisoning. This alert emphasized the risk they posed to children. Most of the reported exposures were unintentional accidents. There was no intent to expose children to the detergent pods. There were a number of symptoms that developed in children who ingested the detergent pods. They included vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, drowsiness, nausea, seizure-like symptoms, respiratory issues that were life-threatening in some cases and more. Some laundry detergent pod manufacturers have started placing strong warnings and instructions on what to do if the detergent pod is swallowed. Others have introduced their product with childproof lids. These lids are designed with a double-latch mechanism. Some provide resealable safety stickers. This enables parent to reseal the lids on the containers.
The CPSC recommends parents follow certain steps to decrease the chances of laundry detergent pod poisoning. Parents should not let their children handle the detergent pods under any circumstances. The detergent pods need to be carefully sealed in their original packaging. Parents must make certain the pods are locked up and out of reach and sight of children in the home. If the pods are swallowed or eyes exposed to the contents, help should be sought immediately. Parents can all 1-800-222-1222 and ask for assistance.
American Cleaning Institute (ACI)
The ACI is a trade association located in Washington DC. It claims the industry has seen the problems with their product and is responding. They are creating a number of different educational materials to teach consumers about using and safely storing the detergent pods. The ACI also regularly monitors the incident reports from poison control centers around the United States. This information helps ACI to know where best to focus their efforts. The ACI believes providing more information on safe storage of the detergent pods will decrease the number of poisoning incidents.
Requests that laundry pod detergent manufacturers develop packaging that is even more effective has been called for by Consumer Reports. This group points towards how laundry detergent pods poisoning incidents are in far greater numbers than those of other types of detergent products. Since 2012, there has been over 7,650 pod detergent poisoning incidents with children 5 years old and younger. During the same time, there were over 7,700 conventional poisoning incidents. The numbers may seem similar until it is pointed out that laundry detergent pods only make up 6 percent of the laundry detergent market.
Proctor & Gamble Study
There was a study commissioned by Proctor & Gamble, a company that manufactures a form of the laundry detergent pods. The study showed that in approximately 9 out of 10 cases where children were poisoned, the detergent pods were actually self-accessed by the child. The company is working with the American Academy of Pediatrics to inform parents and all consumers about the dangers of pod detergents. They are now using an opaque container. This is designed to obscure the Tide Pods that are bright and colorful. They are not changing their product’s tricolored, liquid-based formula. This is what gives the detergent pods the appearance of candy.
When a manufacturer produces a product that is a serious health risk to children or even adults, it must be addressed. If a family has been affected by their child being harmed by a laundry detergent pod, they need immediate legal assistance. An experienced lawyer can make certain a family gets fair and adequate compensation for all of the injuries experienced. A family needs to talk with legal professional and know their rights in this situation. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to guide a family through the legal system to get what they deserve under the law.