A study published Monday showed an increase in the number of children exposed to laundry detergent packets.
According to CBS News, there was 17% increase in calls received by U.S. poison control centers in 2013 and 2014.
“We found that the majority of poisonings were due to exposure to laundry detergent packets and unfortunately it was precisely those products that were causing the greatest toxicity,” lead study author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told CBS News.
The study looked 62,000 calls made to U.S. poison control centers about unintentional exposures to laundry or dishwasher detergent in children under the age of 6. The number of calls went up for all forms of detergents, the largest increases were in laundry detergent packets dishwasher detergent packets, which saw a 14 percent rise.
The researchers also found that liquid laundry detergent packets were the most harmful when ingested by children. Exposures to this type of detergent resulted in 17 comas, six cases of respiratory arrest, four cases of pulmonary edema, and two cases of cardiac arrest.
Two infants died because of ingestion of laundry detergent packets.
According to the authors of the study, the detergent packets are more concentrated so they are more toxic.
Smith told CBS News that the study provided enough to recommend parents buy traditional laundry detergent instead of packets. Contact with the eyes or lips can also lead to irritation and pain.
Some initial symptoms of exposure can include drooling, swelling, choking, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Parents who suspect their child has come into contact with the liquid inside these packets should seek medical advice immediately.
“If parents have any question that their child has been exposed to the contents of a laundry detergent packet, they should call their poison help line to ask if they should be seen and follow their advice,” he told CBS News.