Oh my pod: it’s time to stop eating detergent | The Triangle

Oh my pod: it’s time to stop eating detergent

Photograph courtesy of Mike Mozart at Flickr

Tide Pods are no longer known as a simple and convenient laundry packet. As the result of a strange meme, there has been an increase in the consumption of Tide Pods. People, mostly teenagers, are biting into the laundry packets and posting videos of it to social media. In response, Tide has condemned this, but there is not much they can do to get people to stop willingly ingesting laundry detergent.

So far, in January 2018, there have been 134 cases of “intentional exposure” to laundry pods reported to poison control centers — compared to 53 in all of last year.

Countless people have bit into the laundry pods because of the running joke that they resemble candy, which tempts people to try to eat them. However, Procter & Gamble, Tide’s parent company, doesn’t think the design is the problem, and won’t be changing it.

“Our focus right now is educating consumers about the proper and safe use of household products,” David Jones, a spokesman for Procter & Gamble, said about any possible changes to the Tide Pods design.

Tide seems to be trying to do just that. It has posted statements against the dangerous trend on their social media accounts, including a video with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to try to deter young people from following the trend. The company is also working with the American Cleaning Institute, an organization focused on household cleaning product safety, to encourage students at colleges and universities to only use cleaning products for their intended purpose.

Although this is a new trend that has taken over the Internet, Tide has had to worry about children ingesting their products in the past. In 2015, the company began coating Tide Pods in a “bitter-tasting substance” to deter children from eating them. Clearly, though, this has not stopped hundreds of teenagers from biting into the pods anyway.

Unfortunately, children have been accidentally ingesting toxic household chemicals for as long as they have been around. It’s imperative that parents store any cleaning products away from children, but of course, there are still poison control reports of children ingesting them every year.

This is a trend that has to stop soon, but I don’t think that Tide has much control over when it will end. It is responsible of them to educate people on the danger of ingesting laundry detergent, but that is all that they can do. It has always been known that household products are not food, but I can understand the company’s desire to reiterate that to its customers. People will make their own choices, although nobody should choose to poison themselves intentionally.