A pair of New York lawmakers introduced legislation this week to require companies that manufacture detergent packets, like Tide Pods, to wrap them individually with a warning and make them less colorful in hopes of stopping teens from ingesting them.
The bill is a response to the Tide Pod Challenge, in which young people post videos of themselves swallowing the detergent.
“Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Sen. Brad Hoylman, both New York City Democrats, wrote a letter Monday to Procter & Gamble, which owns the Tide brand, urging them to take their own steps to make the products safer,” USA Today reported.
“We want to make sure these poisonings are prevented. It’s easy. All we have to make sure is that public safety trumps their profits,” Simotas said at a news conference Tuesday at the Capitol in Albany.
“We’re asking for all laundry detergent pods to be uniform in color. We don’t need them to look like Gummy Bears in order for consumers to use them,” Hoylman added. “We need to impose clear warning labels on all packaging, including each pod.”
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that there have been over 80 cases of intentional misuse of Tide Pods reported in 2018, which is up from only 53 cases in all of 2017.
Procter & Gamble does not plan to cease producing Tide Pods, but has urged them to be used as intended: to wash clothes.
In a statement released by the company last month, CEO David Taylor said, “As a father, seeing recent examples of young people intentionally take part in self-harming challenges like ingesting large amounts of cinnamon or the so-called ‘Tide Pods Challenge’ is extremely concerning.”
“The possible life-altering consequences of this act, seeking internet fame, can derail young people’s hopes and dreams and ultimately their health,” Taylor said.
He noted that Procter & Gamble recently put out a public service announcement about the challenge featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, which has garnered over 10 million views.
A Twitter account dedicated to Tide Pod Memes has sprung up mocking those who ingest the product.
One suggested making them Super Bowl snacks.
Individual laundry units are a very popular product for the Ohio-based Procter & Gamble.
Cincinnati.com reported, “Unit dose laundry detergent has become a $2 billion a year business for the company – that’s 14 percent of P&G’s annual fabric care revenues and 3 percent of total sales for the whole company.”
P&G tweeted last month, “Tide Pods are used safely by millions of households across the country every day. We will continue to offer liquid laundry packets, together with other detergent forms.”
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