Laundry pods: a Halloween scare

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It looks like a simple DIY project: Turn one of those bright orange laundry-pac containers into a pumpkin for trick-or-treating. It looks great. But Consumer Reports says teaching children to associate laundry-pac containers with candy could be dangerous.

Since 2012, thousands of children have been injured or sickened after ingesting or coming into contact with laundry pods. The pods can look like candy, and curious kids can bite into them. The highly concentrated detergent can cause anything from minor skin and eye irritations to more serious reactions like wheezing, gagging, and drooling, as well as severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Consumer Reports called for changes to laundry-pac containers and was also part of the industry committee that set new safety standards, for example, making packaging opaque instead of clear and adding a safety latch. Other planned modifications include making the pods stronger so they're less likely to burst inside a child's mouth, and adding a bitter-tasting substance so that children are less likely to suck on them.

These changes can't come soon enough. So far this year poison-control centers have logged over 8,800 calls related to laundry-pod exposure. Consumer Reports thinks that is still too many and will continue to keep laundry pods off its recommended lists of detergents.

Consumer Reports' advice is to keep laundry pods out of any home with children under the age of 6. Instead, try one of Consumer Reports top-rated liquid detergents - Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release or Persil Pro-Clean Power Liquid 2 in 1.

And if you need a container to store Halloween loot, try an old pillowcase or a reusable shopping bag.
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