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(NECN/NBC News: Liz Crenshaw) - A popular product designed to make doing laundry easier is resulting in parents frantically calling poison control centers.
The American Cleaning Institute launched a new safety campaign, putting the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of parents, while government safety officials say the industry should be doing more.
Doctor Cathleen Clancy of the National Capital Poison Center describes child's temptation to touch or taste these single-load laundry pods.
She's seen first-hand the dangers when the packets end up in the hands of children. It’s concentrated detergent in a pretty packet that dissolves quickly.
Clancy said, "The most concerning is when the children get it in their mouth and aspirate it so it goes into their lungs or start to swallow it and it makes them vomit. They have ended up on a ventilator, some children or at least very ill going into the emergency room."
According to the American Association of Poison control Centers, nearly 4,000 thousand kids five and younger have been exposed to single-load laundry packets just this year.
In response to the rising number of children being exposed to the chemicals in these packets, the American Cleaning Institute launched an educational safety campaign to remind parents they are the key to a safe laundry routine, keeping these packets away from children.
Some manufacturers have also in the past year changed packaging to make the pods look less enticing and some have added safety locks and warnings.
But the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the industry has not yet done enough.
It wants a certified safety standard for laundry packets that would apply to all manufacturers.
Inez Tenebaum of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said, "If we had a voluntary certified safety standard we could enforce that standard with the industry across the board on newcomers and also people who have previously not been selling in the market place in the United States."
The American Cleaning Institute says knowing that manufacturers are enhancing the packaging of single-load laundry packets and including safety icons on labels, we are focused on helping consumers be aware of the proper safety precautions of cleaning products.
CPSC agrees parents need to be vigilant, but it wants the industry to do everything it can to package these products with children's safety in mind.
Tenebaum said, "the industry should have stepped up quicker but they still need to go farther."