Consumer policy

Laundry Detergent Capsules and Packets

 

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#LaundrySafe Twitter logo - new as of June 2012

From 16 to 23 March 2015, an OECD International Awareness Campaign was carried out on Laundry detergent capsules and packets. The initiative was aimed at raising awareness worldwide of the risks posed by these products, which can be attractive to children and can pose serious dangers if not handled and stored safely.

 "The OECD is playing a leading role in bringing together regulators from across the globe to tackle the product safety challenges we all face. Information sharing is the key to making a difference. Last year we successfully carried out a global campaign to raise awareness of the dangers that button batteries could cause if swallowed by small children.

 This year, we launched a campaign to alert parents to the importance of safe handling and storing of laundry detergent capsules. If children get their hands on them and the capsules break, medical attention will likely be needed. We are encouraged by the proactive and constructive approach of the industry to the safety of these products.

Global action days took place on 16-23 March, 2015.

 The combined efforts of several countries worldwide co-ordinated by the European Commission magnify the impact that such initiatives can have, and underscore the importance of international organisations, such as the OECD, in supporting such initiatives."

Andrew Wyckoff, Director, OECD Directorate for Science, Technology & Innovation

Hazards

Laundry detergent liquid capsules/packets are designed to contain concentrated detergent for single use. The content of the capsules, protected by a membrane, is released once it comes in contact with moisture during a wash.

Laundry detergent liquid capsules/packets are small, tactile and often colourful, which makes them attractive to children, especially toddlers, who are tempted to put them in the mouth or play with them. A laundry liquid capsule can burst in a child’s hand,especially when it is wet or moist. It can also rapidly dissolve with moisture and may burst in a child’s mouth in as little as ten seconds, which can cause severe injuries.

  • In case of contact with the eyes: conjunctivitis, pain in the eye, eye irritation
  • In case of ingestion: severe vomiting, coughing, respiratory disorders, nausea, drowsiness and rash
  • In case of contact with the skin: rash, skin irritation, chemical burn

Some helpful safety steps

  • Store these products up high, out of reach and out of sight of children
  • If stored in lower accessible cabinets/cupboards, these should be secured with child resistant locks
  • Keep the capsules/packets in their original container, fully closed between uses

Participating countries and jurisdictions

This campaign , involved participation of the following 22 co-operating consumer product safely authorities from 5 continents: European Commission (project leader), Australia, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States

Join the Campaign

If you want to get involved tweet #LaundrySafe, or for more information and campaign material please visit the European commission website

 

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