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Laundry Detergent Or Candy? Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell


Nearly 9,000 children under age 5 experienced serious health consequences last year from what some might consider an unlikely source: laundry detergent. But not just any laundry detergent:  detergent that is packaged in attractive little plastic pouches called pods. If your loved one has been harmed by ingesting one of these dangerous items, a local personal injury attorney may be worth consulting.

The Problem 

Statistics demonstrate that over 10,000 injuries involving laundry pods occur annually in this country. The reasons that consuming these pods are dangerous are obvious: toxic ingredients simply do not interact well when they come into contact with the mouth and are swallowed. Doctors report seeing dreadful outcomes when these pods are eaten, including;

  • Serious burns in the mouth, throat, and digestive tract;
  • Impairment to lung tissue:
  • Fatalities.

The Tide Pod Challenge

You may be wondering, who on earth would eat laundry detergent? Clearly, no one would do so on purpose, right? Well, while that may be true for the majority of people, the truth is many teens purposefully participate in what’s known as the Tide Pod Challenge. Videos have gone viral showing young people either biting into the pods, or frying them and then chewing the pods, seeking bragging rights among friends and strangers alike. The goal is to spit out the detergent before it becomes a health risk, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.

Other Populations at Risk

However, by far the lion’s share of laundry pod accidents involve much more vulnerable populations, such as elderly dementia patients and very young children. In fact, roughly 85 percent of incidents with laundry pods involve these unwitting victims. It seems the brightly colored, fragrant laundry pods resemble candy, and the accidental swallowing of the pods has become a serious problem throughout the country.

Precautions and Deterrents are not Helping

Laundry companies, well aware of the problems associated with their products, have attempted to dissuade all groups from eating the laundry pods, but to no avail. The number of incidents is not declining despite their interventions:

  • They’ve thickened the plastic coating, making biting through the pod more difficult;
  • They’ve covered the pods in a bitter flavored coating, hoping tasters will reject the pods upon first taste;
  • They’ve made laundry pod containers more difficult to open;
  • They’ve put warning labels on the products, and conducted outreach to teens to discourage participation in dangerous contests;
  • They’ve tried to be more easily accessible to the public when it comes to consumer complaints.

Have Companies Done Enough?

Ultimately, the answer is no. If the number of health tragedies is not in decline, manufacturers have not adequately addressed the well-known and widely publicized problems associated with their product. Since they continue to disperse a dangerous product to the public, it seems logical to say they hold some liability when horrendous accidents occur.

Advocating for You

If you have had to watch a loved one suffer after ingesting a laundry pod, you may be entitled to damages to help with medical expenses and more. To find out where you stand legally, contact the experienced team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton in Florida for a confidential consultation today.