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Detergent pods mistaken as candy can harm children, warns Health Canada

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
July 13, 2012

Handy little laundry detergent pods that eliminate messy liquid and powder spills may be doing more harm than good, particularly when it comes to children. Health Canada has issued a warning to parents to keep the convenient mini-packs away from children, reports The Canadian Press.

The pods, which are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience, can also become something of a hazard when young children, attracted by their colourful, candy-like appearance, put them into their mouths, says Kim Sheppard, clinical leader at IWK Regional Poison Centre in Halifax.

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"The big concern with these new laundry detergent pods is the soaps are very concentrated in them," she says. "When children bite into them, the plastic melts in their mouth and the detergents are leaked. This can cause a lot of coughing and vomiting as they breathe it into their lungs."

"In the U.S., more than 1,000 children have been poisoned -- and the numbers are going up fast," reports CTV.

Even more alarming is the fact that children become very sleepy and have trouble breathing after ingesting the pods, says Sheppard. These are symptoms not normally associated with ingesting liquid or powder detergents that don't come in pod form.

"Some children have had to go into hospital and ended up in the ICU for 24-48 hours,"  says Sheppard. "There's usually full recovery."

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The IWK Regional Poison Centre in Halifax has probably seen fewer than a dozen cases of children ingesting detergent pods, none of them serious, but children have suffered more severe symptoms across Canada and the U.S.

Sheppard advises consumers to take extra steps to keep detergent pods away from children. She says kids get access to them when their parents have taken them out to use.

"We should just be retraining ourselves to use the product, and put it back away up on a shelf."

Companies that produce detergent pods are All, Arm & Hammer, Ajax, Tide, Purex and Dropps.

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