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Injuries Caused by Laundry Detergent Pods on the Rise

Published on Sep 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm in Child Injury, Product Liability.

Single-use liquid laundry detergent packets, commonly referred to as “pods”, were introduced to the U.S. market in 2010. They’re convenient to use since each pod contains enough highly-concentrated detergent to wash an average load of laundry. Nothing needs to be measured out, and the surrounding material dissolves in water. Despite the convenience of these pods, they’re potentially dangerous. Due to their small size, spongy texture, and bright, multi-colored appearance, children can be prone to thinking they are candy. Serious health complications and even death can result from exposure to these pods.

According to an alert issued by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, over 11,000 calls were made to poison control centers around the nation regarding children and even adults who placed the pods in their mouths and/or were otherwise exposed in 2014. This number is significantly higher than in past years. From the period of January 1, 2015 to July 31, 2015, there have already been over 7,000 calls made. This information suggests that the general public needs to be made more aware of how dangerous the pods can be.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, at least seven adults and children have died from biting into the pods and ingesting the liquid inside. Since the detergent is more concentrated in these pods than when found in standard bottles of detergent, the pods are extremely dangerous when bitten directly into. Exposure of the liquid to the eyes and skin can also be problematic. The most common symptoms of laundry detergent exposure include vomiting, choking, coughing, nausea, drowsiness, lethargy, and eye/skin irritation.

The rising concern of laundry detergent poisoning has caused lawmakers in Washington D.C. to take action. In February 2015, the U.S. House and Senate passed multiple bills directing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish and enforce safety standards for liquid detergent pods. Legislation specifically noted that the product’s manufacturers should apply better warning labels, change the composition of the product to make consequences of exposure less severe, and change the color and design of the pods to make them less attractive to young children who may mistake them for candy.

Two of the most popular brands of laundry detergent pods are Sun Products Corp.’s All Mighty Pacs and Procter & Gamble’s Tide Laundry Pods. While both manufacturers have changed their product containers to be more opaque to discourage children from seeing the brightly colored pods from outside the packaging, most of the above safety standards have not been addressed. Both manufacturers currently have multiple lawsuits pending regarding cases where children and adults have died and/or been severely injured from exposure to the pods.

With these open lawsuits, litigators and family members alike hope to let laundry detergent pod manufacturers know that drastic changes need to be made. Harsher warning labels should be placed on the product. The pods themselves could be made less dangerous; they could be made larger, for example, and contain a diluted solution that makes the detergent not quite so concentrated. Finally, the pods need to be redesigned and recolored. Potentially dangerous substances shouldn’t look like something found in a novelty candy store.

These lawsuits also draw attention to the multiple cases of injury and death. When the general public is aware of such cases, they become more aware of the potential dangers of these products. Families are more likely to place these products out of reach of children or buy another type of detergent instead. More public attention also helps ensure the manufacturers will make changes to the products in order to make them safer.

If you or anyone you know has experienced an injury related to single-load laundry detergent pods, now is the perfect time to help spread awareness and make sure the product manufacturers do what’s right. Children’s lives should not be put at risk. Your family deserves to be compensated. Thomas Law Offices is currently offering assistance to anyone who may have been affected by this. Feel free to contact us anytime with questions or concerns.

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Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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