By Chuck Taylor

Probably not a big problem, right? I mean, there’s nothing fun to do in there. In fact, they might even be put to work if they’re found hanging around the washer and dryer. It’s not really the room that’s trouble, but those handy laundry detergent packets that have become popular lately.

From 2012 to 2015, the number of chemical burns to the eye that were linked to laundry detergent packets rose more than 30 times among young children, according to a new study. More than 1,200 3 and 4-year-olds received such burns in that time period, according to the research published recently in the medical journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Children can injure themselves when the packets break and the contents squirt into one or both eyes, or when the contents leak onto the children’s hands and they rub their eyes. Most of these burns happened in the home, where kids are playing with the brightly colored packets, “wondering if they’re toys, if they’re candy,” said the lead researcher, Dr. R. Sterling Haring of Johns Hopkins University. They’re neither.

The detergents inside the pods “are among the worst chemicals that the eye can be exposed to,” Haring said.


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