Many people love the convenience of laundry detergent pods. And, honestly, who can blame them? These pods are just great for quick and efficient cleaning. However, while these pods are extremely useful for cleaning clothes, they may come with an even larger warning label attached to them in the future.
A new study out of John Hopkins University showed that the rate of children aged 3-4 diagnosed with eye burns rose 40-fold since 2012. As you've probably already guessed, the increased popularity of laundry detergent pods is correlated with the rise in eye burn patients.
All of these laundry detergent pods contain high levels of dangerous alkaline chemicals. Most of the eye burns happen when a child squirts the content of the pod into his/her eyes. Also, sometimes a child could wipe his/her eyes with the liquid detergent.
John Hopkins researchers looked into reported cases of eye burns in the USA for children aged 3-4. They found that in 2012 there were only 12 officially reported eye burn incidents. By contrast, there were 480 eye burn cases in 2015. In total, there were 1,200 eye burn cases in the USA between 2010-2015.
This American study strengthens claims recently put out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the UK. The Royal Society told the British public that liquid detergent tablets are now the top cause for childhood injuries.
In addition to getting the harsh chemicals in their eyes, many young children mistake these detergent pods for candies. It should go without saying that ingesting these detergent pods can have potentially life-threatening effects on youngsters.
The lead researcher on the John Hopkins study, Professor Sterling Haring, told reporters that the popularity of laundry detergent pods is only expected to grow in the coming years. Therefore, parents who use these pods must be well-informed and take extreme safety precautions to prevent their child from serious injuries.
Professor Haring advises parents planning on using these pods to always store them far away from children. He advises using locked cupboards if at all possible. If a child does ingest or squirt a pod into his/her eyes, the parents must seek immediate medical attention.
Another strategy Dr. Haring proposed to reduce the number of eye burns in the future is for detergent pod manufacturers to change their packaging style. Many of the detergent pod boxes on the market now look very colorful and attractive, especially to a child's eye. Dr. Haring hopes manufacturers will put larger warnings on these packages.
The John Hopkins University study will be released in a forthcoming edition of the JAMA Ophthalmology medical journal. Dr. Haring also had an article published in JAMA on August 2016 dealing with a similar issue. This article was entitled "Epidemiologic Trends of Chemical Ocular Burns in the United States."
Dr. Haring was trained at Brigham Young University, John Hopkins University, and Harvard Medical School. In addition to working at John Hopkins, Dr. Haring founded FreeCare USA.