Odessa Child One of Thousands Sickened by Laundry Pod Detergent

Odessa Child One of Thousands Sickened by Laundry Pod Detergent

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - A 2-year-old Odessa girl was treated for severe chemical burns on her eyes after a laundry pod burst in her face, her grandfather said.

Emery Marszal was rushed to a hospital and reportedly unable to open her eyes for hours.

"I don't think she'll ever see again," her grandfather, Richard Jones, told NewsWest 9. "[The pain was] bad enough that the child attempted to scratch her eyeballs out with her own fingers."

This incident is one of thousands nationwide that have led to a closer examination of laundry pod safety since the product hit the mainstream market in early 2012.

Between January 2014 and June 2015, poison control centers nationwide received more than 17,000 reports of children under the age of 6 ingesting, inhaling or otherwise coming into contact with detergent from laundry pods, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

Researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio determined the most common effects of pod exposure were vomiting, coughing, choking, eye irritation and drowsiness. Less common symptoms included coma, seizures, breathing problems and stomach burns. The death of at least one child, a 7-month-old, was confirmed to be caused by laundry pod exposure.

Consumer Reports first called on manufacturers to redesign and repackage the product in September 2012, and announced last week they "no longer recommend" laundry pods.

"Too many kids are still getting their hands on them, often with grave consequences," stated the report, published July 16, 2015. "Given the continued danger, we have made the decision to not include pods on our list of recommended laundry detergents... We strongly urge households where children younger than 6 are ever present to skip them altogether; our new position doesn't apply to laundry (or dishwasher) pods that contain powder, because injuries associated with them are less frequent and less severe."

Parents and health experts alike have complained the colorful detergent pods closely resemble candy.

According to Jones, his granddaughter came across a bag of single-use Tide detergent pods on Wednesday in her family's laundry room and picked one up "out of curiosity."

"They're squishy, they're colorful [and] they look fun," said Jones. "They look like candy or a toy, but they're dangerous as hell. "

A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, the manufacturers of Tide products, said in an emailed statement to NewsWest 9, "To my knowledge, this is the first we've heard of this incident, and we will certainly investigate it fully."