New York is looking at forcing Tide (and other such companies) to stop making their product look like candy:
Teenagers and some young adults have started an Internet trend called the “Tide Pod challenge,” in which they post videos online of themselves with Tide Pods in their mouth. Although the source of the problem is clearly the fact that reckless stupidity can get you internet fame, New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas — both New York City Democrats — believe that the problem is that people somehow do not understand the danger associated with swallowing commercial cleaning products, or perhaps that Tide Pods actually look appetizing to some people because of their colorful design.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there have been over 80 cases of intentional misuse of Tide Pods reported so far in 2018, up from only 53 cases in all of 2017.
I thought the consumer rights people were exaggerating, but then I saw one and was gobsmacked. Yes, they really do look like candy. On the other hand, they don’t feel like candy once you pick them up. Tide has apparently made some movement towards fixing this by changing the colors up. I saw some the other day and instead of a white base they were green. Except for sour apple, there isn’t a whole lot of green candy out there. It did not look appetizing. So it seems like the problem self-corrected. For what really isn’t a huge problem, given the lack of actual incidents.
That said, I am not especially bothered by this government interference. The laundry pods we were using – which were not Tide – were black. So I know it’s possible, and it’s a pretty small revision for them to make.
I should note that the vaping community was on to this scourge well before the media. Back when there was concern about kids drinking ejuice, a lot of vaping advocates looked up the CDC statistics and found everyday things that were proving to be more of a problem. And so laundry pods would get mentioned:
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to education about e-cigarettes and vapor products, said the concern about e-cigarettes is overblown.
The child who died, he said, consumed a homemade nicotine liquid concoction that’s much stronger than retail versions that are easily available in the United States. And, he added, laundry detergent pods and prescription medications are bigger poisoning risks to kids.
Which is my main concern about cracking down on laundry pod manufacturers: The fact that we regulate them will be later used to justify regulating other things where (unlike here) the proposed regulation is a burden. The regulation for ejuice packaging turned out okay, for whatever that’s worth. Basically, suppliers sidestepped them by shipping them in the child-proof containers but including an alternative top you could replace it with. And I suppose if they did start actually putting ejuice out in attractive colors I would be a little concerned.
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