Comparison of pediatric exposures to concentrated "pack" and traditional laundry detergents

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 Apr;29(4):482-6. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31828a3262.


Objectives: Pediatric exposures to concentrated laundry detergent packs may result in serious adverse affects. This study compared pediatric exposures to laundry detergent packs and traditional laundry detergents.

Methods: Cases were exposures among patients 5 years or younger to laundry detergent packs during January to June 2012 and traditional laundry detergents during January to December 2011 reported to Texas poison centers. Comparisons between the 2 types of products were made for various variables.

Results: Of 187 laundry detergent pack and 452 traditional laundry detergent exposures, the patient was already at or en route to a health care facility in 21.4% of the laundry detergent pack and 9.3% of the traditional laundry detergent exposures. Of those exposures where the poison center could potentially influence where the patient was managed, 23.8% of laundry detergent pack and 3.7% of traditional laundry detergent exposures were referred to health care facilities. Potentially serious outcomes were reported in 12.3% of laundry detergent pack and 2.4% of traditional laundry detergent exposures. The most commonly reported clinical effects in laundry detergent pack and traditional laundry detergent exposures were vomiting (54.5% vs 17.0%), cough (11.2% vs 2.2%), ocular irritation (7.0% vs 6.4%), red eye (7.0% vs 5.3%), nausea (7.0% vs 2.7%), and oral irritation (7.0% vs 2.2%).

Conclusions: Pediatric exposures to laundry detergent packs were more likely to be managed at a health care facility. Moreover, the laundry detergent pack exposures were more likely to result in serious outcomes and involve the most common clinical effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Detergents / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Poison Control Centers
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Texas / epidemiology


  • Detergents