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Lawmakers advocate for new law following "Tide Pods Challenge" trend


A popular internet trend of eating toxic laundry pods has two New York State lawmakers calling for changes.

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas want a new state law that would require new packaging for laundry detergent pods.

Simotas said the number of poisonings since 2013 have not changed in any meaningful way.

“I understand the appeal of the convenience of the laundry pods. I use them myself,” said Simotas. “But convenience should never trump safety. The companies that manufacture these items should be more concerned with public safety than with profit.”

There have been numerous hospitalizations since the “Tide Pods Challenge” started trending. Simotas said the voluntary industry standards that Tide has followed are clearly not working.

“Bright colored detergent pods look like candy,” said Simotas. “They look like toys. They are perfectly packaged and they are enticing for children, older seniors with dementia, and even family pets.”

Hoylman said it’s no longer just an issue for young children and the elderly with dementia. Teenagers are at risk.

“This truly is the ‘Tide Pod Challenge’,” said Hoylman. “The challenge is for government, for regulators, and for the industry to step up and correct these dangerous devices.”

Hoylman said there have been five calls to poison control centers in New York City in the first 15 days of 2018 just for teenagers.  

Proctor and Gamble, which owns Tide, have launched a campaign to warn people about the dangers of eating pods.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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