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ACE Responds to Laundry Packet Challenge

laundry packets image

A current internet joke has gone too far as teenagers are intentionally putting detergent packets in their mouths.  The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), is extremely concerned with this dangerous new challenge and urges youth to stop mishandling products solely meant for cleaning. 

“The use of household products, such as liquid laundry detergent packets, improves our lives by keeping our clothes clean.  However, these products are not intended to be consumed and they can become a safety hazard when not used according to label instructions,” states ACE’s Executive Director, Sara Stickler. 

Laundry detergent as we know it today in the United States, has been in use since the 1940s when the modern washing machine replaced scrub boards. Unlike the soap used with scrub boards, laundry detergent helps to keep dirt suspended in the water inside the washing machine, to be washed away when the water is drained.  The introduction of laundry packets in the 1960s provided consumers with additional choices and benefits for their laundry needs. New products and technologies are continuously increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of our daily chores, however, the safety message with all cleaning products, including detergents, has remained the same- use properly and store safely.

Laundry packet manufacturers, the household and commercial product industry, ASTM International and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have been working collaboratively since the release of laundry packets to ensure their safety. “Because of the risk of injury to children who mistakenly ingest laundry packets, we have worked closely with consumer groups and manufacturers on consensus standards that address childproof packaging, warning labels, and taste properties,” says Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product and ACE Honorary Chair.

“Safety is our first priority,” states Stickler, “and although this challenge may have intended to be a joke, there are serious safety concerns when a product is misused, and implications that this behavior will be deemed appropriate by younger generations.”

ACE encourages conversations with teenagers about the dangers of this trend and video challenge and the importance of using products correctly.  ACE also encourages positive peer pressure from young adults.  "We need peers to start alerting their friends about these dangers and saying no," says Stickler, "The message is more powerful when coming from a peer." 

“Through the CPSC and the work of ACE, we want to make sure the public is educated on this trend and aware of the risks,” says Buerkle, “Ensuring consumer safety is our priority and education is critical to that effort. 

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