(NBC News) – The number of eye injuries linked to liquid laundry packets has skyrocketed in recent years.
It’s not difficult for an adult to burst a liquid laundry packet. Young children have also popped them, getting the detergent in their eyes, which has lead to an increasing number of serious chemical burns.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at reports of such eye injuries from 2012 to 2015, finding the number rose more than 30-fold.
“The number of eye injuries among small children aged 3 to 4 due to these laundry detergent pods increased significantly, from almost none to almost 500 per year,” says Johns Hopkins’ Dr. R. Sterling Haring.
The single use laundry packets have higher concentrations of chemicals and cleaning agents and can lead to vision loss if they get into the eyes.
In response, the American Cleaning Institute released a statement reading in part: “Manufacturers of liquid laundry detergent packets are very committed to reducing the number of incidents with these products, which are used safely by millions of consumers every day.”
It’s also important to note the study looked at injuries that occurred before many manufacturers adopted voluntary safety standards in 2015, including opaque packaging and improved warning labels.
If a child’s eye is exposed to the laundry packets, doctors say immediately get the eye under cool running water and leave it there for at least 20 minutes.
“The faster you can get to a water faucet, and the longer you can run water on that eye, the more likely you are to save that child’s vision,” Dr. Haring advises.