The kitchen convenience that’s making kids blind

Many of the chemicals in your house are a danger to children. Medical researchers warn that a relatively new kitchen and laundry innovation threatens kids’ eyesight.

Brightly colored dishwasher detergent pods as well as liquid laundry pods look like candy or toys to unknowing children. And if little kids bite into them or squeeze them, the pods can burst, propelling harmful detergent into the eyes, nose and mouth. A study in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus warns that these pods must be kept away from little ones who can suffer serious eye injuries and poisoning.

The report shows that children under the age of 4 may be in extra danger. Injuries have resulted from kids who put the pods in their mouths or merely squeeze them. All of the reported injuries showed that the escaping chemicals did damage to the eye’s cornea, the clear outermost layer of the eye that refracts light.

The researchers caution that the pods contain high concentrations of chemicals called surfactants. The high level of surfactants in the pods are much more concentrated than in normal detergent. They react with mucous membranes and increase the risk of damage when kids swallow them or get them in their eyes.

“Manufacturers have taken steps to prevent such injuries, such as warning labels and container lid safety features,” says researcher Constance E. West, who has tracked the injuries at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “These safety features are not always present, however, particularly with off-brand or generic laundry pods that might be sold at discount stores.”


Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.