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February 2, 2017 11:00 AM

American Cleaning Institute Response to Research Letter on
Childhood Eye-Related Accidents with Liquid Laundry Packets

  • Detergent Manufacturers Are Fully Committed to Reducing Incidents Related to Laundry Packets
  • Companies Have Made Significant Changes to the Products and Packaging
  • 99+% of Liquid Laundry Packets Being Shipped in Compliance With New ASTM Safety Standard
  • Study analyzed data prior to publication of safety standard
  • As With Any Household Product, Safe Use and Storage of Laundry Packets is Key

Washington, DC, February 2, 2017 – The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) issued the following statement in response to a research letter published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology on liquid laundry packet safety:

"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.

"Data analyzed in the research letter examined accidents prior to the issuance of a voluntary safety standard for liquid laundry packets. That consensus standard, published in December 2015 by the standards-setting body ASTM International, contains a strong set of package and product design interventions supported by science and research, and directly addresses the recommendations made by the letter’s authors.

"It is important to note that, by the end of 2016, more than 99 percent of the volume of liquid laundry packets being shipped to retailers were in compliance with the ASTM standard. ASTM International has a process in place to examine data from 2017 (post-standard) to determine the impact of these measures on the rate of accidents.

Background on ASTM Liquid Laundry Packet Safety Standard

"The standard includes a set of secure package closures designed to challenge the typical strength, mental acuity or dexterity of a young child. Manufacturers have implemented changes proven effective at deterring child access while ensuring adults are able to open it and completely close it in between uses.

"The laundry packet standard also called for other changes that:

  • ensure packets withstand the squeezing pressure of a child;
  • include a soluble film containing a bitter substance;
  • use a film that delays release of liquid contents so the bittering substance takes effect.

"Major changes to product packaging include:

  • the addition of easy-to-understand safety icons;
  • improving warning labels to advise proper use and storage instructions;
  • changing to opaque packaging so the laundry packets are not visible from the outside.

"In addition to product and package changes, ACI and its member companies have also directly engaged parents and caregivers, as well as poison control centers, pediatricians and other medical professionals, parent educators and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to alert them to the need for proper storage and use of these products to prevent incidents, a recommendation also raised by the authors."