Laundry pods pose a lethal risk to adults with dementia because the capsules can be mistaken for sweets, a new report claims.
Six adults with cognitive impairment have died in the past five years after ingesting liquid laundry detergent capsules.
Two children have also died from eating the pacs and chemical eye burns have increased 30-fold among preschool-aged kids since the product’s introduction to the market in 2012.
Adults with cognitive impairment and young children can easily confuse the brightly colored and squishy pods for candy, experts claim.
Now the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns these products pose more of a danger to those suffering from dementia than children.
A US report found six adults with dementia have died after ingesting liquid laundry pods. Now the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns adults with dementia are most at risk
WHY LAUNDRY PODS ARE SO DANGEROUS
Laundry pods contain laundry detergent, softener and other soap types enclosed in dissolvable plastic discs.
The chemistry of the pacs is roughly the same as in liquid detergents (including alkylbenzenesulfonates – the most common organic compound found in detergent).
The water-soluble pouch is typically made of Polyvinyl alcohol or a derivative of it.
Although the formulas are similar, a detergent pac’s liquids may contain only 10 percent water compared to 50 percent in liquid detergents.
Because of this, the solution inside of the pacs are have a much higher concentration that conventional detergent – powder or liquid.
The findings were made by Consumer Reports, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, to learn of the number of incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2017.
The report found a total of eight people died after ingesting the pods since the product first went on shelves.
Pods made by Procter & Gamble, the leading seller of this type of laundry detergent, were involved in six of the eight deaths.
The company said in a statement to Daily Mail Online they were ‘saddened by the loss’ of those adults who had dementia.
P&G added they have been ‘formally collaborating’ with the Alzheimer’s Association for the past year to work to prevent such deaths.
These deaths have organizations pushing for more redesigns of the packets to further decrease this potentially fatal risk.
The new report found that most of the dementia-stricken adults ate several pods before they fell ill.
A previous Australian study in 2016 found that people with dementia often have the tendency to excessively overeat, particularly with high-sugar foods.
Experts believe the colorful packaging leads young children and those who are cognitively impaired to think the pods are candy and eat it.
This is why the CDC warned the products were an emerging public health concern.
Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Tide Pods, announced in 2012 that it would make their product more difficult to open by adding a double latch to the lid.
Additionally, the packaging was changed to an opaque orange from the original clear plastic that had resembled a ‘gumball machine-type presentation’.
But a 2014 study found that between 2012 and 2013, more than 17,000 calls were made to poison control centers about children who had been exposed to the pacs.
The proportion of chemical eye burns from laundry detergent pods to overall eye injuries increased from 0.8 percent in 2012 to 26 percent in 2015
A separate report by Consumer Reports announced in 2015 they would no longer be including pods on their list of recommended laundry detergents due to a lack of external safety data.
An earlier report from February found the laundry pods were poisoning children at a 30-fold increase.
A study, conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System between 2010 and 2015 for eye injuries resulting in chemical burn or conjunctivitis among children aged three to four years old.
During this time period, researchers found approximately 1,200 chemical eye burns from detergent pods among preschool-aged children.
From just 12 instances of chemical burns from laundry detergent pods in 2012, that number increased 30-fold to 480 in 2015.
These injuries most often occurred when children were handling the pods and the contents squirted into one or both of their eyes or when the pod contents leaked onto their hands and a burn resulted from subsequent hand-eye contact.
Research has found that accidental swallowing of conventional detergent generally resulted in mild stomach upset.
However, with highly concentrated detergent pods, accidental ingestion can cause excessive vomiting, lethargy and gasping.