Two New York lawmakers have asked the state to mandate child-resistant packaging for the colorful Tide Pods detergent packets, and to switch to a less appealing design, amid the ridiculous-yet-dangerous trend of people eating them and encouraging or daring others to do the same.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, a Queens Democrat, unveiled their proposal Tuesday, noting several deaths around the country tied to the Tide Pods challenge.
“We’re asking for all laundry detergent pods to be uniform in color,” Hoylman said.
“All we have to make sure is that public safety trumps [Procter & Gamble’s] profits,” Simontas added.
Eating Tide Pods started as a challenge on social media. Teenagers began posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the small, colorful detergent pods, and daring others to follow suit. Some social media users have posted videos of themselves cooking the pods before eating them.
They say the pods also are a risk to young children and adults with dementia who might mistake them for something edible.
“They’re squishy, they smell sweet and they look like gummy bears,” Hoylman explained.
Laundry detergent contains several chemicals that can be poisonous if ingested. The chemicals can cause vomiting, diarrhea, liver and kidney damage and even death. The American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported 154 calls to poison control centers relating to teenagers ingesting the pods this year, up from 53 cases last year.
Following the dangerous trend, Tide took action to stop people from eating to pods by putting out warnings and PSA ads starring New England Patriots star player Rob Gronkowski.
Amazon, which sells the pods on its site, disabled comments from users who wrote the detergent capsules were “delicious,” The Verge reported.
YouTube also vowed to take down videos of anybody doing the “Tide Pod Challenge.”
Last month, Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor said the company was working to remove online videos featuring people participating in the challenge. He urged adults to help young people understand “this is no laughing matter.”
“However, 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.
Simotas said the dangers of the laundry capsules hit home for her a few years ago when had to snatch one from her young daughter.
“These little pods are a disaster in the making,” she said.
Similar legislation has been introduced in previous years but has gone nowhere.
Following the craze, bakeries such as Wake N Bake Donuts in North Carolina made doughnuts that look nearly-identical to a Tide laundry detergent pod.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.