Doctors warn against detergent pods, Consumer Reports eliminates from ratings

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- This isn't the first time WREG has reported on the dangers of detergent pods.

Now, a major, consumer advocacy group has urged parents of small children to stay away from them and local physicians quickly followed suit.

Consumers loved them because they're quick and convenient.

Single use detergent pods made laundry a bit more hassle free.

However, as the small detergent packets grew in popularity, so did reports of problems.

Dr. Barry Gilmore with  the Chief of Emergency Medicine at LeBonheur Children's Hospital said they've seen numerous cases over the past few years of toddlers getting sick from ingesting the pods.

While most exposures have been minor, Dr. Gilmore said it can be quite toxic.

"The pods themselves, or the ability to bite into them, and they tend to explode out and aspirate, so children get them into their lungs very quickly," explained Dr. Gilmore.

In the first six months of 2015, Poison Control Centers nationwide received more than 6,000 reports of children five or younger, inhaling the pods or getting the product on their skin or eyes.

That number was on pace to pass last year's total of more than 11,000 calls.

This was part of the reason Consumer Reports said it would no longer include pods on its list of recommended laundry detergents.

Also, for families with young kids in the house, the magazine urged parents to skip them altogether.

Dr. Gilmore agreed.

"These things are very bite size, they look like candy, so the absolute safest thing for parents with toddlers at home is just not to use them," he said.

Another recommendation given was for parents to store them in a place where young children can't get to them.

Manufacturers have also addressed safety by switching from clear to opaque, plastic containers and in some cases they added child resistant latches.

There's currently a bill in Congress that would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish safety standards for detergent pods.

No action has been taken at this point.

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