What EPA, researchers and cleaning industry say about detergent pods

A specific formula of PVA is used in detergent pods. Western Washington University Associate Professor and Program Director John Misasi said when a laundry machine is emptied, the water carries the dissolved PVA to a wastewater treatment plant, where there are generally filters and micro-organisms that will begin to break it down. 

"Those filters aren't perfect, they can allow some polymer and plastic to escape, so some can escape that way," Misasi said. "The PVA that escapes [does so] because it's so water soluble, so it's kind of being carried with water. The majority of that water is either recycled and reused or [what's referred to as] sludge gets distributed onto fields."