Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) is warning parents of the risk posed by new brightly-colored pellet-style detergent capsules, which have been linked to numerous poisoning incidents involving children across the nation in recent months due to their resemblance to candy. Nationwide, instances of children becoming sick after ingesting detergent capsules, which were introduced to the market earlier this year and are dropped directly into the washing machine, have reached more than 1,210 as of late June, up from 250 reported cases in late May. There are dozens of new cases reported each day across the country, with some incidents leading to severe illness in children. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that the reaction to these capsules is much worse than ingesting regular power-style detergent because it is highly concentrated. In response, Greenfield is urging parents to take extra precautions in their homes, including keeping detergent capsules and other dangerous household products in locked cabinets that children cannot access.
“As a parent, I was horrified to read about so many children becoming sick after getting their hands on these brightly-colored detergent capsules that look like candy. I was surprised to find these capsules for sale in local Borough Park stores. While the companies that manufacture these products take steps to reduce the risk for children through better packaging, I am urging all parents to go the extra mile and make sure their children cannot access these hazardous products. I hope that we can get word out to New York City families and parents about this potential danger inside our homes,” said Greenfield, whose City Council district includes the most children of any in Brooklyn.
Along with their bright colors and overall resemblance to candy, the detergent capsules are especially enticing to children due to their bite-size shape. While Proctor & Gamble, which manufactures Tide brand detergent, plans to add a new double-latch to its boxes, experts are recommending that parents go even further and keep this and other household poisons locked up at all times. Symptoms from ingesting the capsules include severe nausea and vomiting, respiratory distress and metabolic abnormalities, in addition to damage to the eyes possibly caused when the child bites into the detergent pellet. While no fatal cases have been reported, at least 11 children have been placed on ventilators and 10 have been intubated, according to a recent report.
“Many parents likely bought these new capsules because of the convenience they offer, not realizing the danger they pose to children. I'm urging parents to take the necessary steps to make sure no more of these terrible incidents occur,” added Greenfield.