Detergent Packs Cause Serious Eye Injuries in Kids
Since single-dose detergent packs, also known as laundry or dishwasher packets or pods, entered the market in 2012, the products have caused a number of injuries—mostly in young children and pets who mistake the colorful packets for a toy, candy, or a treat. In addition to poisoning, serious chemical burns to the eyes have also occurred.
Detergent contained in these pods is different than regular liquid detergent—it's stronger and contains a higher concentration of surfactants, chemicals added to aid in stain removal. The detergent also is alkaline in nature and in the eyes, alkaline burns are typically more severe than acid burns. In eye tissue, alkaline substances penetrate deeper, burn faster, and are highly caustic. Damage to the cornea, which does not have blood vessels and doesn’t heal well, can cause permanent vision loss.
According to a study recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology, more than 1,200 preschool-aged children in the U.S. experienced eye chemical burns from detergent packets from 2012 to 2015. While just 12 such injuries were reported in 2012, 480 occurred in 2015. Detergent pods should be kept out of the reach of children and pets. If detergent does get in the eyes, flush them immediately with cool tap water—as much as possible—and then head to the emergency room.
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