September 28, 2012 - An alert was issued as early as May 24th, 2012, by Poison Control Centres across the US about detergent companies that have a new laundry product that comes in small pods. The capsules are sold under many brand names including Tide Pods, All Mighty Pacs, and Purex Ultra Packs. Children are mistaking the brightly coloured pods for candy and eating them. While no deaths have been reported "…the rapid onset of significant symptoms is pretty scary," said Dr. Jessica Branscome. Ten minutes after a 20-month old infant swallowed a laundry detergent pod; the child developed profuse vomiting, wheezing, and gasping for air, and then became unresponsive to pain stimuli.
Over 250 cases have been reported to Poison Control Centres across Canada and while this number represents a fraction of the thousands of poisoning calls they receive every year, doctors are very concerned because the symptoms children suffer from these detergent pods is more severe than typical laundry poisoning. To date, the American Association of Poison Control Centers state that nearly 3,000 children have eaten laundry pods, all of whom were under the age of five. Despite the overwhelming amount of media attention, children are still falling ill in increasing numbers after consuming the candy-like detergent capsules.
Children are mistaking the brightly coloured pods as candy and eating them.
Poison Control Centres urge all parents and caregivers to make sure laundry detergent pods are locked up and out of reach from children. Dishwasher detergent packs pose an equal risk so please exercise the same caution. To obtain more information on this subject please call your local Poison Control Centre.
Health Canada is working with the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres to gather information on incidents that may have been reported to Provincial Poison Control Centres. The products involved in the reported incidents are the subject of an on-going review by Health Canada to determine compliance with applicable regulations.
Keep the number of your local Poison Control Centre number near your telephone and in the event that your child has ingested any consumer product, contact your regional Poison Control Centre. If your province or territory does not have a Poison Control Centre, dial 911.
Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to report any health or safety incidents related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic. An easy-to-use incident report form is now available on the Department's website.
Mail: Incident Report - Consumer Product Safety Directorate
123 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1A 0K