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Experts: Laundry pods pose danger to adults with dementia

Posted July 11

New data is revealing an unexpected danger of popular laundry pods.

They can be enticing to adults who suffer from dementia, and the results can be deadly.

Consumer Reports has warned about the dangers of laundry pods for kids for years, but they recently expanded a safety alert about them to include some adults.

Since 2012, eight deaths in the U.S. are blamed on exposure to the packs. Two of those eight were young children, while the other six were adults with dementia.

"An expert we talked to let us know that people with dementia often mistake random items for food," Consumer Reports' Chief Science Officer James Dickerson said.

In 2015, poison control centers logged more than 13,000 calls related to laundry pod exposures.

"New voluntary standards, including provisions that make these pods taste bitter, have been enacted since January," Dickerson said. "We're hoping that this will help alleviate the thousands of calls that poison control centers receive every year regarding these pods."

In the meantime, the new recommendation from Consumer Reports is not to use laundry pods if there is a child under 6 years old or someone with dementia or another cognitive impairment in your home.

Laundry packs or pods can cause symptoms ranging from eye irritation and vomiting to breathing trouble.

If someone in your home ingests one of the pods, get immediate medical attention.


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  • Linda Tally Jul 12, 11:39 a.m.
    user avatar

    I'm with Sara - those things can be horribly hard to get open!

  • Sara Hauser Jul 11, 8:46 p.m.
    user avatar

    They could lock the pods up or switch to powder detergent ?? I can't even get into the ones that are sold in bags. I have resorted to cutting the tops open.