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Poison Control Experts Warn of Danger From Detergent Capsules That Look Like Candy

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Poison control experts are warning parents about single-dose detergent capsules that look like candy. These products were involved in about 10,000 cases of exposure involving young children, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Some children who have gotten the product in their mouths have had excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping,” the American Association of Poison Control Centers notes on its website. “Some get very sleepy. Some have had breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator to help them breathe. There have also been reports of corneal abrasions (scratches to the eyes) when the detergent gets into a child’s eyes.”

Last year, single-dose detergent pods became popular, the article notes. Thousands of children who ate or otherwise came into contact with laundry pods received medical attention. Some had breathing problems that required days of hospitalization. A 7-month-old boy in Florida died in August after eating a laundry detergent capsule.

Proctor & Gamble, which makes Tide Pods, was warned about possible problems three years ago by officials at an Italian poison control center. They contacted the company to report children were biting into small packets of the company’s concentrated liquid detergent called Dash Ecodosi. The poison control officials recommended making the capsules’ packaging opaque, and more difficult to open. After the company made the changes, reported poison cases fell by 60 percent over six months, according to the newspaper.

While Proctor & Gamble studied the problem in Italy, it launched Tide Pods in the United States and Canada in clear containers. The company said it wanted to see whether making the packages opaque worked before trying them in North America. It changed the packaging in the United States and Canada this past spring. Clear packages are now largely phased out.

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