IDPH Supports National Effort to Warn of Laundry Detergent Packet Dangers


May 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Ten reports of Iowa children becoming ill from putting packets in their mouth has prompted the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to join with the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center (ISPCC) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers in urging Iowans, especially parents, to keep highly concentrated “single dose packs” of laundry detergent up and out of the reach of children. Poison centers across the country have reported a recent increase in calls about exposures of children to laundry detergents packaged in small packets.

Examples of single-dose laundry detergent that can pose a poison hazard to children

Some young children and toddlers who swallow these small packets have become ill and some have required hospitalization. According to the ISPCC, 10 exposure calls have been received in Iowa since April 1, 2012. The children ranged in age from 8-months-old to 4 years of age. Five needed hospital care but none became seriously ill. All have completely recovered; nationally, however, more serious illness has been reported. There have been no deaths.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:

  1. Always keep detergents locked up and out of the reach of children.
  2. Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
  3. If you think a child has been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, call the ISPCC immediately at 1-800-222-1222.

For more information about the warnings concerning concentrated packets of laundry detergent, visit For information about the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, visit