Hazardous Exposures to Liquid Laundry Detergents Capsules in Young Children
Liquid laundry detergent capsules (LLDCs) are single-unit-dose detergents consisting of about 32–50 ml of a concentrated detergent mixture encased in a water-soluble membrane. LLDCs are usually brightly coloured and small in size making them very easy for young children to grab and investigate further by biting or squeezing, leading to the membrane bursting and exposure to the capsule contents with potentially harmful consequences. Case reports from paediatric departments and case series studies from European and USA Poison Control Centres (PCs) allowed recognition of LLDCs as an unexpected source of moderate- and high-severity injuries, particularly among young children and provided an informative basis to support the adoption of voluntary and legislative preventive measures to improve consumers' safety. Data reported in the available literature indicate that exposures to LLDCs are more hazardous than exposures to traditional laundry detergents. To address this, EU legislation now requires improvements to the packaging of LLDCs to prevent or minimise accidental exposures in children. Further efforts should be devoted to reducing the intrinsic toxicity of the content of LLDCs and their attractiveness to children.