Consumer Reports will no longer recommend laundry detergent pods

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Consumer Reports has announced that it will no longer recommend liquid laundry detergent pods because of the continued high-rate of accidental poisonings of young children attributable to those products.

The organization now strongly urges households where children younger than 6 are ever present to refrain from purchasing them.

In the first six months of 2015, poison-control centers nationwide received more than 6,000 reports of kids 5 and younger ingesting and inhaling pods, or getting pod contents on their skin or in their eyes. That's a pace set to eclipse the 2014 total of 11,714 and 10,877 in 2013, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

"We recognize the role parents and caregivers play in keeping children safe, but we believe the unique risks posed by liquid laundry pods warrant this action, at least until the adoption of tougher safety measures leads to a meaningful drop in injuries," said Dan DiClerico, senior home editor for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports' safety experts have been active participants in the development of a voluntary safety standard for pods led by ASTM International. The draft proposal, which is scheduled for a vote this week, calls for several key changes that have already been implemented in Europe, including the addition of a bittering agent to give them a bad taste; a higher "burst strength" to make them harder to bite into; and a slower dissolve rate, so they'll be less likely to open in a child's mouth.

While CR's experts recognize the proposed draft is certainly a step in the right direction, because there is no data yet to support that the product changes will reduce injury rates, its safety experts abstained from the vote. This is consistent with the organization's decision to no longer recommend liquid pods until injuries meaningfully decline. In addition, CR's advocacy arm Consumers Union is pushing for bills in the U.S. Congress that would require tough safety standards for pods.