Laundry Detergent Packet Poisoning Risk is a Focus of International Campaign

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted March 17, 2015


A coalition of health and consumer protection agencies from 22 countries are coordinating efforts to raise awareness and warn about the risks of laundry detergent packet poisonings for children, as the brightly colored, single-use pods continue to cause severe injury throughout the world when children mistake them for candy or a teething toy. 

As part of a week-long international focus on poison prevention, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched a global awareness campaign on laundry detergent packet risks, which runs from March 16 to March 23. The campaign seeks to inform parents and other consumers on how to safely use the detergent packs, the importance of keeping them away from children, and raising awareness about the poisoning risks posed by the single-use laundry detergents.

Laundry Detergent Poisoning Lawyers

Has Your Child Suffered Laundry Detergent Poisoning?


Laundry packets are small capsules that contain detergent, which are meant to be simply dropped into a washing machine without the need to measure or handle the liquid itself. However, they have been linked to tens of thousands of reports involving child poisonings, as the products are often sold in bright and colorful packaging, which is commonly mistaken as some form of a toy or candy.

For more than two years, the lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. have been investigating potential laundry detergent packet poisoning lawsuits for children throughout the United States. Efforts by consumer groups and federal regulators in recent years have led to a number of changes to packaging and warnings in the U.S., but many children continue to be at risk of suffering severe and potentially fatal injuries from laundry detergent poisoning.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) first issued a safety alert about the risk of detergent packet poisoning (PDF) in 2012. However, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) indicates that at least 11,711 reports of problems with laundry detergent packets were received by poison control centers last year.

The OECD campaign now includes participation by 22 countries, including the European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. The OECD promotes policies that it believes can improve both economic and social well-being of people worldwide.

Exposure to the contents of laundry packets can result in:

  • Severe Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Drowsiness
  • Rashes
  • Eye Irritation
  • Chemical Burns

The OECD recommends that the packets be stored high and out of reach and sight of children, and kept in their original container and fully closed between uses. If they have to be stored in lower cabinets, these should be secured with child-resistant locks.

In cases of child exposure, the OECD made the following recommendations:

  • If the capsule was in the child’s mouth, rinse the child’s mouth and face thoroughly.
  • Do not induce vomiting
  • If eye contact occurs, rinse carefully with lots of water
  • Call a doctor or a poison control center, or take the child to an emergency room.

If your child or a loved one has suffered a poisoning injury from laundry detergent packets, contact Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. to review what legal rights may be available.


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