Business, Economics and Jobs

Laundry detergent pods mistaken for candy, companies make changes


Detergent-makers making changes after child poisonings due to colorful laundry pods.


Joe Raedle

A spate of child poisonings has laundry-detergent makers rethinking colorful laundry pods that resemble candy.

There were at least 250 cases reported to poison control centers of children eating the brightly colored pods that arrived on store shelves in recent months, said Bloomberg.

The new pods are the size of large candies and even sold in jars that look strikingly like containers for sweets.

"If you look at the Tide Pods, they're bright blue and bright red and they look very similar to some of the ribbon candy," said Julie Weber, director of the Missouri Poison Control Center in St. Louis, reported ABC News.

Although there has yet to be any fatalities, there have been hospitalizations of infants and children who have swallowed the detergent or got it in their eyes.

Some experts believe that the reactions children have had prove the pods are more dangerous than regular detergent.

"We're not quite sure why it's happening," Kurt Kleinschmidt, a Dallas toxicologist and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center told Bloomberg.

"But we've clearly had some kids who have become much more ill. We look at these pods as being clearly more dangerous than the standard detergent."

In response, Cincinnati-based Procter and Gamble said that it would be adding a double-latch lid to the packaging in order to prevent poisonings.

"The packs themselves are safe, regardless of who manufactures them, provided that they are used for their intended purpose," Paul Fox, a spokesman for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble told Businessweek.

"The risk becomes when they're left like any other household product within reach of small, inquisitive hands."

The pods have been available in Europe for many years.