According to a study recently published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, laundry detergent packets have led to a rise in chemical burns in children’s eyes. From 2012 to 2015, popular detergent pods increased the number of eye chemical burns in young children by more than 30 times. In the three-year period, more than 1,200 three- and five-year-olds suffered burns to their eyes because of puncturing the wrapper that contains the liquid detergent. The concentrated chemicals meant to remove stains can squirt into the child’s eyes or get on their hands, which they then wipe on their face and eyes. While there were 12 ocular burns to toddlers in 2012, there were 480 in 2015, demonstrating that this is a fast growing and serious problem.
Detergent Pods Incredibly Dangerous
While many cleaning products are harmful to children and anyone’s eyes, the researchers of this study stated that these detergent pods are particularly dangerous. The laundry detergents “are among the worst chemicals that the eye can be exposed to,” stated Dr. R. Sterling Haring from Johns Hopkins University. The detergents are alkaline chemicals and are what the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration labels corrosives since they cause visible and irreversible destruction to materials and tissue. While these types of chemicals in diluted forms can be great cleaners, in concentrated forms they can cause more severe burns, even worse than those caused by acids.
Detergent Pods Can Cause Permanent Vision Damage
The eye is not only particularly sensitive, but it also does not heal well due to the lack of blood vessels. Alkali chemicals move into the eye tissue faster than acids, and the body’s inflammatory response to the chemical’s presence only leads to additional damage. Alkali chemicals can move through the cornea, lens, and the other inner portions of the eye within 15 seconds, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
When the cornea or other parts of the eye are damaged due to chemical burns, it is highly likely that the child’s vision will be impaired for a long time or permanently. One of the more minor injuries is permanent dry eye. More significant injuries include glaucoma and blindness.
Ocular burns can require multiple surgeries to attempt to repair and provide the child with vision.
Laundry Packets Also a Poisoning Risk
The risk to children from popular laundry detergent packets is not only eye injuries, but also poisoning. Children often see the interesting, bright, and candy-looking pods and think they can play with them or eat them. Since the pods hit the market, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has seen an increase in accidental child poisonings. The AAPCC reported that in January 2017, poison centers across the U.S. received 769 reports of exposure to these packets by children five years old and younger. Exposure includes ingesting, inhaling, absorbing in some way or getting the chemical in the eyes. There were 11,528 reports of exposure in 2016, which was a slight decrease from 12,594 reports the year before.
Call a Texas Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If your child was injured by a laundry detergent packet despite you doing everything to prevent a problem, you may have a cause of action against the company that designed, manufactured, or sold the packets based on product liability. To learn more about filing a lawsuit on behalf of your child’s injuries, contact the experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorneys of The Bettersworth Law Firm today.