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Practice Areas

New Safety Standard for Liquid Detergent Laundry Packets

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

ASTM International approved Sept. 15 a new voluntary safety standard for labeling and packaging individually wrapped liquid laundry detergent packets. These items are increasingly popular with consumers but have raised concerns due to accidental ingestion by children.

According to an ASTM press release, the new standard details how these packets should be contained in opaque or other packages that are intended to mask the visibility of the packets, are labeled with warning statements and are more difficult for children to open. Press reports indicate that the standard also calls for adding a bitter taste to the soluble film encasing the packets and making that film take longer to dissolve once wet.

In 2012 the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a safety alert that liquid laundry detergent packets should be kept away from children, and the CPSC worked with representatives from industry, advocacy groups, international organizations and consumers in the development of the ASTM standard. Nevertheless, the CPSC has not made the new standard mandatory, though a New York Times article states that the agency “may pursue recalls of products that do not meet it.” A Consumer Affairs article adds that the ASTM standard may forestall legislation that would have required the CPSC to develop a mandatory safety standard.

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