Consumer Reports Will No Longer Recommend Liquid Laundry Detergent Pods

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Citing continued danger to young children, CR calls for tougher safety standards

Can you pick out the pods?

We recognize the role parents and caregivers play in keeping children safe, but we believe the unique risks posed by liquid laundry pods warrant this action, at least until the adoption of tougher safety measures leads to a meaningful drop in injuries.

Consumer Reports today announced that it would no longer recommend liquid laundry detergent pods because of the continued high-rate of accidental poisonings of young children attributable to those products. The organization now strongly urges households where children younger than 6 are ever present to refrain from purchasing them.

In the first six months of 2015, poison-control centers nationwide received more than 6,000 reports of kids 5 and younger ingesting and inhaling pods, or getting pod contents on their skin or in their eyes. That’s a pace set to eclipse the 2014 total of 11,714 and 10,877 in 2013, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

“We recognize the role parents and caregivers play in keeping children safe, but we believe the unique risks posed by liquid laundry pods warrant this action, at least until the adoption of tougher safety measures leads to a meaningful drop in injuries,” said Dan DiClerico, senior home editor for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports’ safety experts have been active participants in the development of a voluntary safety standard for pods led by ASTM International. The draft proposal, which is scheduled for a vote this week, calls for several key changes that have already been implemented in Europe, including the addition of a bittering agent to give them a bad taste; a higher “burst strength” to make them harder to bite into; and a slower dissolve rate, so they’ll be less likely to open in a child’s mouth.

While CR's experts recognize the proposed draft is certainly a step in the right direction, because there is no data yet to support that the product changes will reduce injury rates, its safety experts abstained from the vote. This is consistent with the organization's decision to no longer recommend liquid pods until injuries meaningfully decline. In addition, CR’s advocacy arm Consumers Union is pushing for bills in the U.S. Congress that would require tough safety standards for pods.

The full report, along with Consumer Reports’ latest Ratings of laundry detergents, is available online at ConsumerReports.org and in the September 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit, consumer organization working to improve the lives of consumers by driving marketplace change. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has achieved substantial gains for consumers on health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other issues. The organization has advanced important policies to cut hospital-acquired infections, prohibit predatory lending practices and combat dangerous toxins in food. Consumer Reports tests and rates thousands of products and services in its 50-plus labs, state-of-the-art auto test center and consumer research center. Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, works for pro-consumer laws and regulations in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. With more than eight million subscribers to its flagship magazine, website and other publications, Consumer Reports accepts no advertising, payment or other support from the companies whose products it evaluates.

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