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Representative image

New design of laundry packet risky for children

ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2019 14:33 IST

Washington DC [USA], Jun 3 (ANI): Traditional laundry detergent packaging is a safer alternative than the new one as it poses a risk to adults with developmental disabilities and young children, who might swallow the detergent accidentally, observed researchers.
A new study conducted by researchers found a modest decrease in calls for children younger than 6 years of age following the adoption of product safety standard but an increase in calls for older children and adults.
The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that liquid laundry detergent packets are more toxic than traditional liquid and powder laundry detergent.
Most exposures involved children younger than 6 years (91.7 per cent), a single substance (97.5 per cent), or occurred at a residence (98.5 per cent). Approximately 6.4 per cent of single-substance exposures resulted in serious medical outcomes.
During the study period, there were eight deaths associated with the ingestion of laundry detergent packets as single-substance exposures. Two of these involved children 7 and 16 months old. The other six deaths were among adults aged 43 years and older with a history of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or developmental disability.
In an effort to reduce unintentional exposures the leading US manufacturer of laundry detergent packets began implementing a series of changes to the product and its packaging to reduce child exposures in 2013.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Prevent Child Injury, and other organisations have conducted public awareness campaigns about the hazards of laundry detergent packets for young children.
This study investigated the effect of these safety interventions and found that the number and rate of exposures among children younger than 6 years declined by only 18 per cent following the adoption of the safety standard.
"The voluntary standard, public awareness campaigns, and product and packaging changes to-date are good first steps, but the numbers are still unacceptably high. We can do better," said Gary Smith, senior author of the study.
Requiring that all liquid laundry detergent packet packaging be PPPA-compliant would be an important next step in reducing child access to these products. In addition, each laundry packet should be individually wrapped with child-resistant packaging, which would provide important layers of protection for this highly toxic product," said Dr Smith.
Liquid laundry detergent packets are more toxic than traditional liquid and powder laundry detergent. The reasons for this increased toxicity are not completely understood, and further research is needed to determine how to make packet contents less toxic. Such reformulation would reduce the severity of exposures to liquid laundry detergent packets.
Paediatricians and other healthcare providers should continue to counsel patients and their families about the hazards of laundry detergent packet exposures and the importance of safe storage practices. Experts recommend that caregivers to children younger than 6 years old and adults with a history of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or developmental disability use traditional laundry detergent instead of packets.
"Many families don't realise how toxic these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are. Use traditional laundry detergent when you have young children or vulnerable adults in your home. It isn't worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available," said Henry Spiller, co-author of the study. (ANI)

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