Feb. 7. 2018 By Tara Law
Astoria Assembly Member Aravella Simotas sent a letter to Proctor & Gamble, the multinational consumer goods company, calling on it to alter the appearance and packaging of its Tide laundry detergent PODs to discourage people from eating them.
The dangers of Tide PODs came to national attention last year after the “Tide Pod Challenge,” in which people record themselves biting into a Tide POD, spread across social media. In 2017, 10,570 people injured themselves with the pods.
Simotas and Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman penned a letter to Procter & Gamble CEO David S. Taylor on Jan. 29, urging him to make PODs safer.
“It’s time that you recognized the danger to those least able to protect themselves from a poisonous product packaged like candy,” the legislators wrote. “If not, these products should be removed from store shelves as soon as possible.”
Simotas and Hoylman introduced a bill in January that would require the PODs to be a uniform color, have a less pleasant smell, and to be firmer. The bill would also require child-resistant packaging, clear warning labels and individual wrapping for each pod.
Procter & Gamble added a bittering agent to the outside of the pods in 2015, but the lawmakers say that the agent was not potent enough.
The appearance of the PODs makes them particularly dangerous for children and people with mental disabilities, said Simotas.
“Even though the industry has adopted voluntary standards, they are not working and it’s now clear why we need a law to lessen the risk of poisonings. As a legislator and a mother, I am angry that convenience and marketing have been exalted over the safety of children and people with dementia.”
Simotas also called on the company to make these changes nationwide.
Procter & Gamble had not responded to a request for comment by the time this article was published.