Several deaths and an increase in calls to poison control centers have been connected to the Tide Pods challenge, which involves people—usually teenagers and young adults—biting or ingesting the laundry detergent pods and posting video of said act online.
In response to this trend, two New York lawmakers have proposed new regulations that would call for child-resistant packaging, individual warning labels and uniform colors for toxic laundry detergent pods.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, a Queens Democrat, say that the Tide pods are a risk to young children and adults with dementia.
However, there has not been a spike in reports of poisoned young children and adults with dementia. The lawmakers’ proposal would do nothing to address the problem that is leading to these poisonings: blatant stupidity.
“It’s not the manufacturers who are to blame when people make stupid decisions with their products,” said Assemblyman Joseph Errigo, R-Livingston County.
Teenagers are not ingesting these products because they don’t know they’re dangerous. They’re ingesting them specifically because they’re dangerous, and they’ve made a game of challenging each other to do something dangerous.
The Procter & Gamble Co., which owns Tide, has launched a campaign to warn people against eating the pods. It has also taken steps to make them harder to open and to make the plastic covering the pods taste worse. But as the company’s CEO, David Taylor, noted, there’s only so much you can do if people are determined to be dumb.
“Even the most stringent standards and protocols, labels and warnings can’t prevent intentional abuse fueled by poor judgment and the desire for popularity,” Taylor wrote in a post published on the company’s website.
What’s required isn’t more legislation. What’s required is common sense, and possibly more oversight and explanation from parents of the teenagers who are partaking in this dangerous behavior.