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Small packets of highly concentrated laundry detergent have been available in some European countries for a decade but were not introduced in the USA until 2010, becoming more widely marketed in early 2012. Young children are at risk of ingesting these brightly coloured capsules. US poison centres began receiving calls concerning critically ill children exposed to laundry detergent pods in spring of 2012. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Poison Control Centers began tracking similar reports. During 1 month's time, 48% of all laundry detergent poison exposures involved the pods; 94% had been ingested by children under age 5. These findings are similar to those in Italy and the United Kingdom. Recently, one US detergent manufacturer has added a latching lid to the container in which the pods are sold.
▸ CDC. Health hazards associated with laundry detergent pods—United States, May–June 2012. MMWR 2012;61:825–9.
This editor is pleased to include a study of traumatic injuries from a hospital in Tanzania, a nation which has not been represented in this column before, and which has had formal emergency medicine physician training available only since 2010. Retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients appearing in the emergency department of one hospital during …