According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, detergent packets – which often come in flashy, candy-like colors and designs – can pose a serious poisoning risk to young children; between 2012 and 2013, over 17,000 children were exposed to these packets nationwide
Klobuchar called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure that strong protections are in place to prevent poisoning and cosponsored legislation to protect children from the health risks posed by detergent packets
Washington, DC – After efforts by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and other legislators to prevent child poisoning, U.S. makers of detergent packets are finalizing a new voluntary safety standard today. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, detergent packets – which often come in flashy, candy-like colors and designs – can pose a serious poisoning risk to young children. Between 2012 and 2013, over 17,000 children were exposed to these packets nationwide. Klobuchar has called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ensure that strong protections are in place to prevent poisoning and has cosponsored legislation to protect children from the health risks posed by detergent packets by requiring that the industry improve the packets’ packaging, design, and composition.
“Detergent packets are a big convenience and time-saver for families, but the flashy, bite-sized packets may look like candy to young children and can cause serious physical harm when swallowed,” Klobuchar said. “We’ve seen an alarming uptick in poisoning cases involving these packets in recent years and that is why I have pushed for protections that would prevent kids from being harmed by these products. The announcement of a voluntary industry standard is an important step forward and a good example of how consumer and industry groups can work together to protect our children from the dangers of household cleaning products.”
Manufacturers, the CPSC, and consumer advocates worked together to create the new voluntary safety standard to reduce the risk of accidental exposure. The standard sets guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of ingestion by improving packaging standards and making the packets less appealing to children.
Klobuchar has been a leader in efforts to prevent accidental poisonings by detergent packets. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing earlier this year, Klobuchar urged the CPSC to consider protections that are very similar to the protections finalized today, including those that would make detergent packets more difficult for children to open and less appealing to children.
She also cosponsored The Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act, introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), which would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to set mandatory safety standards for easily accessible liquid detergent packets. Specifically, the bill would give the CPSC the authority and direction to issue rules requiring safer, child-resistant packaging for liquid detergent packets within eighteen months, compelling industry to implement stronger and more effective policies that address: child-proof packaging for the container holding liquid detergent packets; design and color of the packets to make them less appealing to children; composition of packets to make consequences of exposure less severe; and proper warning labels that adequately inform consumers of the potential risks.