Detergent pods — the squishy, brightly colored plastic packets that you toss into your washing machine — are a public health hazard, according to Connecticut’s senior senator in Washington.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced this week his intention to cosponsor the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act, an attempt to stem the tide of accidental poison deaths caused by the pods.

Connecticut Poison Control Center dealt with nine calls regarding accidental exposure from the pods in 2012, according to a press release issued Monday by Blumenthal’s office, jumping to more than 200 cases of accidental exposure in 2013 and 2014. 

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Nationwide, 11,700 children younger than 5 years old were exposed to the caustic detergent within the pods in 2014, Blumenthal’s office said, citing the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

“Bright and bite-sized detergent pods may look like harmless candy, but these highly concentrated packets are anything but,” Blumenthal said in a release. “Detergent pods contain toxic poisons that pose serious health risks for children or anyone who accidentally ingests them. Laundry detergent need not be created with packaging that appeals to children in its coloring and design, and the companies that make these detergents can and must do more to include appropriate warning and safety labels for their products.”

The Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act would set safety standards for detergent pods, including child-proof packaging, “proper” warning labels and less appealing colors.

“Recent research found that laundry detergent packets have come to pose a serious poisoning risk to young children, with just under 1,000 children poisoned by these products each month,” Dr. Kyran Quinlan, chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention said in a release issued by Blumenthal’s office. “Children younger than 3 years old accounted for 73 percent of the cases.”

Blumenthal is used to fighting deadly products that, for one reason or another, may appeal to kids. As Connecticut’s attorney general, he prosecuted tobacco companies for marketing to children.

Measure Introduced on Unclaimed Veterans’ Remains

A measure has been introduced that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to do a study on as-yet unclaimed veterans’ remains, so those remains may be buried in national cemeteries.

H.R.1338, cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, deals with an old problem that, through modern technology, might have new solutions.

When veterans die and have no immediate family members, occasionally their remains go unclaimed—nobody knows they were veterans or even that they had died. Veterans groups cannot often gain access to cremated remains, stymied by state and local laws.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Jordan Fenster is an award-winning freelance journalist. He lives with his family in Fairfield County. He can be reached by or @JordanFenster on Twitter.

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