Small packets mask big danger for children
They are dangerously enticing to children.
The brightly colored squishy packets the size of marshmallows look
like candy to a baby or toddler. Yet the single-load laundry detergent
packets - containing condensed powerful chemicals - are anything but.
As more of the products are entering the laundry rooms of American
families replacing traditional liquid or powder detergent, they are
becoming a hidden hazard inside cabinets and closets.
In Harris County, 75 children 5 years old or younger were poisoned with the packets from January to July, a dramatic increase from 56 such cases in all of 2012, according to the Southeast Texas Poison Center.
"When they really hit the radar of the poison center was last spring.
... We started getting kids who got really ill from this," said Jon
Thompson, director of the Southeast Texas Poison Center based at the
University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
Since the spring of 2012, about 12,000 children have been exposed
across the country. The first fatality was reported in Florida last
Safety advocates are concerned that the increasingly popular products
- at least 50 million have been sold during the last year - are
manufactured under no safety standards.