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Laundry Detergent Pods

Laundry detergent pods, packets or pacs are brightly colored, single-use packets of concentrated laundry detergent. Children are drawn to pods, which they can easily grab. Laundry pods were first introduced in 2012. At that time, poison centers across the U.S. received many calls about children unintentionally swallowing the liquid detergent in the pods.

Symptoms of Ingestion

  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Burning/pain
  • Respiratory problems

Symptoms of swallowing pod detergent were much worse than symptoms of swallowing traditional liquid or powdered laundry detergent. Many children had symptoms after ingesting just a small amount of the liquid from pods.

What to Do

Call IPC at 1-800-222-1222 if you or your child could have been exposed to laundry detergent. IPC manages over 400 exposures to laundry detergent packets per year. Most exposures involve young children.

How to Protect Children

  • Store all laundry detergent, including pods, up high and out of sight of children.
  • If possible, store laundry detergent in a locked cabinet or closet.

Manufacturers of laundry detergent pods made changes between 2013 and 2016 that have improved the safety of these products. Pods are now sold in containers that you can’t see through. They have more secure child-resistant closures. Manufacturers added a bitter taste to the film, and the film is thicker and stronger. It now takes longer for the film to dissolve in saliva and is harder to puncture with teeth or fingers.

Harm to children from laundry pods has significantly decreased since they were first on the market—both the number of exposures and the overall severity of symptoms have declined.

IPC is here to help. Calls to our helpline, 1-800-222-1222, are free and confidential. Toxicology experts are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week

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