The nonprofit organization Consumer Reports stated the popular liquid laundry detergent packets, sometimes referred to as "pods," may pose a "lethal risk" for adults with dementia, who may mistake the highly concentrated detergent packets for food.
The group obtained statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission after filing a Freedom of Information Act. The data showed that there have been eight deaths related to ingesting the liquid laundry detergent packets in the U.S. between 2012 and early 2017. Of those deaths, six were adults with dementia and two were young children.
“Caregivers and children of seniors should be aware that ingestion of the contents of certain liquid laundry packets has led to serious and even tragic incidents,” Patty Davis, the press secretary for the CPSC told Consumer Reports, adding that water and even saliva can dissolve the packets, releasing the detergent.
Consumer Reports recommended not keeping the detergent packets in the homes where adults with dementia live.
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), a group that represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market, told ABC News in a statement that they are "fully committed to reducing accidental access to these products, which are used safely by millions of consumers every day."
The organization also issued safety tips for caregivers, which includes storing all cleaning products in a locked cabinet or closet.
The ACI adds that they have aided in developing a voluntary safety standard for liquid laundry packets, which includes methods to deter access to the detergent, such as by including a soluble film on the outside of the packet that contains a bitter substance.