MASON CITY, Iowa – Many children are drawn to their colorful, candy-like packaging, but what’s inside is very dangerous. A growing number of young children are getting into poisonous detergent packets. Between 2012 and 2013, over 17,000 children were exposed to the pods nationwide, and the Minnesota Poison Control System has reported that detergent related cases have increased from 49 incidents in 2012, all the way to 352 cases in 2014.
Those alarming statistics prompted Minnesota U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar to get involved. She is co-sponsoring legislation called the “Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act”. The national legislation targets manufacturers of the detergent pods.
“They are very colorful, they look like a toy actually, like a chew toy,” says parent, Sarah Gordon.
She is a mother of two and knows the dangers of these poisonous pods first hand.
“When they first started crawling, they were very curious about them. They pulled the door open below the washer and of course somehow they managed to get the box open,” says Gordon.
Thankfully they were more enticed with the look, rather than the taste.
“I can remember my youngest did get into them but did not chew on them,” says Gordon.
Close calls like this prompted Senator Klobuchar to co-sponsor legislation making these capsules safer.
“You think of the convenience, I use them all the time,” says Klobuchar, “They are a great thing, but we have to do some childproof safety measures in.”
She’s not suggesting we ban the pods.
“Of course they are still legal, and everyone should use them, but the bill just tries to do something with the packaging, trying to make them a little less appealing to children,” says Klobuchar.
Aside from appearance, the act would also require manufacturers to re-think the composition of the poisonous packs to make consequences of exposure less severe, and have clear warning labels for parents.
“I don’t think every parent would think that’s a danger to have those pods out there,” says Klobuchar.
Until steps are taken, Gordon says, she knows the risk, and keeps her detergent out of arms reach.
“I definitely recommend if you do have them to keep them high up. That’s where I kept them after my child started to play with them,” says Gordon.
Klobuchar says a number of senators are joining in on the cause and she is hopeful fellow congressmen and women see this as a common sense bill.
Nationally, more than 700 children were hospitalized in the past two years because of accidental pod poisonings.