Medical Professional Publications

Research Now: "Laundry Pods" Pose Poison Threat

Central Ohio Poison Center is investigating these new class of poisons to understand their effect and to direct prevention strategies

The Central Ohio Poison Center continues to face old challenges as we confront new ones. Legislation greatly helped reduce the recent “bath salts” epidemic.  However, other legislation requiring manufacturers of laundry detergents to come up with mixtures safer for our waterways has created a new problem: laundry “pods” and “packs” that can be deadly to children.

Until last year, laundry detergent exposures to children usually caused no problems, or simply an episode of vomiting and upset stomach. In contrast, some children who have tried to taste these new laundry products have suffered coma, burns of the mouth, throat, or airways, and respiratory distress. Making matters worse, these new laundry products often look very pretty to children, and have been sold without child-resistant containers.

This new epidemic has led to the creation of two research projects. In the first, the Central Ohio Poison Center is working with an investigator at the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center to get very careful descriptions of exactly how these exposures happen. Is the product in use? Was the parent distracted? Was the container left open? By better understanding how, when, and where these exposures happen, investigators hope to better inform efforts at prevention of exposure.

The Central Ohio Poison Center also hopes to partner with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s, to review case data from all of the U.S. poison control centers to better describe the various clinical effects from exposures to this new class of poisons.

Contact: Marcel Casavant, MD, FACEP, FACMT

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000