In the past, the issue with laundry pods mostly concerned children who play with the items or mistake them for candies. New reports show that children aren't the only ones at risk of laundry pod-related incidences, but adults with dementia as well.
Accidents Involving Laundry Pods
An 87-year-old woman from Texas who passed away in May was found to have died two days after ingesting two packets of laundry pods. Unfortunately, the elderly woman's death is the eighth death related to ingesting laundry pods.
Since its introduction to the market, people have been worried about its potential dangers owing to its playful packaging that come in different colors. True enough, children were its first victims. From January 2013 until December 2014 alone, U.S. Poison Control Centers received 62,254 reports related to laundry and dishwashing detergents, 60 percent which were related to laundry pods.
Laundry pods were introduced to the market in 2012 and in the short amount of time that it has been in the shelves, eight deaths related to ingesting the product have been reported so far, two of whom were children, while the other six were elderly individuals with dementia including Edith, the woman who died in May.
Not surprisingly, six out of eight deaths involving laundry pods were linked to P&G, the very company that debuted Tide Pods in 2012.
"We are aware of accidental ingestions related to our liquid laundry packs among adults with previously diagnosed dementia," said Elizabeth Kinney, P&G's senior communications manager for North America.
Lethal Risks For Adults With Dementia
Confusion is one of the main hallmarks of dementia, and having colorful packets lying around the house is a danger to them. This is especially more so because, like children, people with dementia may sometimes seem inclined to place things in their mouths. It doesn't help either that they can reach for things that children cannot.
In the case of Edith, it was revealed that she had previously been known to mistake several objects for candies. This sixth death of a dementia patient shows that it's not just children who are vulnerable to the lethal dangers posed by laundry pods.
Reducing The Danger
Whether you have children or caring for a loved one with dementia, it's very important to keep these laundry packets in a location where it will not be easily reached. In fact, taking any cleaning product that may remotely resemble anything edible should be removed from the house.
Further, a piece of advice would be to keep the items in their original packaging so as to lessen confusion and to completely separate them from the storage of food products.
Several manufacturers of laundry pods have altered their packaging. In 2015, they even voluntarily made the packaging more difficult to burst, and added a substance that would give the outer film a bitter taste.
Despite this, Edith's case proves that there is still more room for improvement. As such, keeping our own homes safe and the cleaning products we use properly stored would be the first steps we can take as consumers of these products.