The Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) is emphasizing caution to keep hazardous household chemicals including detergent pods out of reach of young children, as detrimental consequences to a child’s health, specifically the eye, could occur.
Laundry detergent pods were designed in 2012 to help take the guess-work out of daily laundry. Unfortunately, these colorful pods with a candy-like appearance can be a potential hazard for young children. Studies indicate an increase in chemical ocular injuries that correlates with the presence of these detergent pods in the market. Not only is ingesting the chemicals from these pods dangerous, additionally if the inner contents are exposed to the eye, a chemical burn to the ocular surface could result.
A 5-year study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Ophthalmology recorded chemical eye burn incidences among pre-school aged children related to these pods increased from 0 cases in 2010 & 2011 to 12 cases in 2012 when laundry pods were released on the market. The very next year the number increased to 262, and by 2015 there were 480 cases among 3 to 4 year old children. Additionally, the proportion of eye-related injuries to all hazardous laundry detergent pod-related events has significantly increased. Poison control also reports an increase in calls related to these detergents pods.
The American Optometric Association along with the IOA advises parents that if their child’s eye is exposed to laundry detergent, it should be immediately flushed with water and seek immediate care by an optometrist or health care provider for further treatment and monitoring.