New colorful laundry packs can pose a risk to children

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Today I would like to share information about some products that we have to be especially careful in handling and having around the home. These are important facts to keep in mind for the safety of your health and that of your children. 

Clean laundry, safe kids

The new single-use liquid laundry detergent packs that dissolve in the washing machine are convenient and easy to use. But if you have (or care for) small children, you need to be especially careful to keep them locked up and out of reach.

All cleaning products should be kept out of the reach of children, but these new “laundry pods” present an even greater risk. With their bright colors and squishy feel, they may look to a child like something fun to play with or good to eat. The packs are designed to dissolve quickly and the liquid detergent inside is highly concentrated. If it gets on the skin, it may cause burning and a rash. If splashed or rubbed into the eyes, it can cause serious eye damage. If swallowed, it may cause vomiting, coughing, choking, drowsiness or breathing problems, sometimes leading to hospitalization.

Poison center experts urge parents and caregivers to:

•Always keep detergents locked up, high and out of the reach of children

•Follow the instructions on the product label for use and disposal

•Call the Kentucky Regional Poison Center at (800) 222-1222 immediately if you think a child has been exposed to one of these detergent packs

This information was from the Florida and the Oregon Poison Information Centers and provided by  Debbie Clouthier, Extension Associate for Food and Nutrition, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Air fresheners may cause illness

Is your air freshener making you sick? It may be releasing volatile organic compounds, commonly referred to as VOCs.

VOCs are emitted as gases by a wide range of products numbering in the thousands and can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and nausea. They may be associated with damage to the kidneys, liver, central nervous system and certain cancers. Examples of products that may release VOCs include some air fresheners that are more fragrant, hair sprays, paints and lacquers, cleaners, dry-cleaning fluids, home furnishings, craft supplies, permanent markers and moth repellants. Many items have a precautionary label specifying risks and procedures for safe use, however, not all do.         

Reduce your exposure to VOCs by:

•Following label instructions and/or manufacturer’s directions on all household products.

•Increasing ventilation when using products.

•Purchasing these products in quantities you will be able to use. 

•Storing in a safe location, out of the reach of children or pets.

This information was provided by Ashley Osborne, Extension Associate for Environmental and Natural Resource Issues, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Third Hand Smoke

This relatively new term brings to attention the health consequences of cigarette smoke, even if we are not present during the smoking itself. Third hand smoke refers to the chemicals from cigarette smoke that stay on indoor surfaces, such as clothes or furniture. When this smoke is combined with other indoor chemicals, it can create a toxic mix. Nonsmokers may develop health issues from inhaling, eating or even touching items that have been exposed to smoke. Children are often the most vulnerable to these smoking byproducts.

Studies have shown that third hand smoke is often found long after a smoker has left the smoking area. Common items that may hold third hand smoke include: furniture, clothing, hair, drapes, carpets, bedding and even walls.

Third hand smoke is not easily removed. The use of a fan or opening windows does not remove the danger. After a while, third hand smoke may build up and be difficult to clean from surfaces.

Creating a smoke-free environment is the best way to protect you and your family from the harms of cigarette smoke.  Remember that cigarette smoke can affect you, even if you are not inhaling it yourself.

Nicole Peritore, Extension Physical Activity Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment provided the basis for this information. 

Dates of Interest

Feb. 19–Carroll County Homemakers Valentine Party at Fairview Place Assisted Living, 2 p.m.

Feb. 20 – Carrollton Homemakers Monthly Meeting, 1:30 p.m. Carroll County Extension Office

Feb. 20 – Beginning Embroidery, 4-6 p.m.   Carroll County Extension Office 

March 4 – Huck Toweling class, 1:30 p.m. Fee: $7.00, Carroll County Extension Office


Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.