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Seniors with Dementia May Be at Risk of Poisoning from Laundry Detergent Pods

It’s not just young children who may be at risk of poisoning after ingesting brightly-colored and attractively packaged laundry pods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is increasingly coming across cases involving seniors with dementia who have swallowed these pods by mistake, causing severe injuries, and in many cases, fatalities.

Laundry detergent pods are brightly packaged and come in several shiny hues.  These qualities make them extremely endearing to children. The pods are designed to dissolve as soon as the packaging comes into contact with water. Children are naturally attracted to shiny, colorful things.

Children can be at risk of poisoning as soon as they put these pods into their mouths. In fact, the CPSC is aware of incidents involving persons who died after swallowing or ingesting these laundry detergent pods. Ingesting even one such pod could be dangerous, and even lethal.

The attraction of these laundry detergent pods for children is very simple. The pods are attractively packaged, very colorful, and are extremely squishy to touch. Children are often attracted to these pods which they believe to be playthings, or even worse, edibles. Consumer Reports recommends that these laundry pods be placed out of reach in homes where there are children below the age of six years.

Now however, it appears that it is not just children who are at risk from ingesting these pods. Seniors with dementia are just as likely as children to mistake these objects as candy and ingest them.  Between 2007 and 2017, CPSC received reports of at least eight deaths involving people who ingested these pods. Out of those fatalities, six involved seniors, and only two involved children. Clearly, the risk to seniors who have dementia is extremely high.

Consumer Reports is warning families that have a senior with dementia to avoid these pods altogether. If you have an elderly relative or friend with dementia in your home, avoid buying these pods and if this is not possible, take all precautions to ensure they are out of reach of your loved one.

People who suffer from even moderate forms of dementia are very likely to mistake certain non-edible items for food. In such cases, the adult may not even realize that the object that he or she is eating is not food.