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Editorial: Protect kids, elderly from detergent pods

Editorial: Protect kids, elderly from detergent pods

Toxic items that look too much like candy are causing many serious illnesses
Editorial: Protect kids, elderly from detergent pods
Photographer: Via Amazon.com

Proposed legislation in New York to improve safety packaging for Tide Pods isn’t designed to protect the idiots who are purposely eating them as part of the Tide Pod Challenge.

It’s designed to protect the thousands of children, dementia patients and pets each year who become seriously ill, and sometimes die, because they innocently mistake the colorful toxic concentrated detergent packages for candy.

Two downstate lawmakers, Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, this week introduced a bill (A4646A/S100A) that would make it a lot more difficult for these vulnerable populations to eat the packets or to mistake them for candy.

The bill would require that detergent pods sold in New York come in child-resistant containers; that the individual pods be designed in an opaque, uniform color that would make them less attractive to children than the current swirly, colorful designs; that the pods not easily be punctured by a child’s bite; and that warning labels be placed on individually wrapped pods and the containers they come in.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, centers recorded 12,299 incidents related to laundry pods in 2017 alone. And experts say that number could just be the tip of the iceberg, as many cases go unreported.

More than 80 percent of those incidents involved children age 5 or younger biting into pods.

These pods contain 26 different chemicals, which in combination are highly toxic when ingested or spread on the skin.

Among the potential effects are cardiac and respiratory arrest, vomiting blood, pulmonary edema, gastric burns, coma and even death.

This legislation could easily be dismissed as New York’s Nanny State run amok.

But there’s plenty of precedence for requiring special safety packaging to protect children and others from being exposed to harmful materials, medicine and poisons.

And there’s plenty of precedence for government requiring manufacturers to alter their packaging and marketing materials to make dangerous items less attractive to children. (Remember when cartoon characters were used to sell cigarettes?)

These detergent pods are potentially very dangerous and the packaging they come in encourages those who don’t know any better to consume them.

It would be better if the manufacturers of detergent pods voluntarily altered their packaging to make it safer. But so far, that hasn’t happened.

This legislation is, unfortunately, necessary to help protect children and the elderly from harm.

And for those who should know better than to eat these things on purpose, hopefully they’ll get the message, too.

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