NY Legislators Propose Mandated Child Resistant Packaging for Detergent Pods
When laundry and dish detergent pods first hit the market years ago, there was national concern over children incidentally poisoning themselves by ingesting the pods, believing they were edible. Despite child-resistant closures that now appear on some brands' detergent pod packaging, along with warnings of the potential hazard, the problem persists. (Though it is trending downward from its peak in 2015, according to statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers).
In an effort to reduce these detergent-related poisonings, a state senator and assemblywoman from New York are seeking statewide mandates pertaining to both the packaging of detergent pods and the appearance of the pods themselves, according to a February 7 report from the Associated Press.
Specifically, what State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Queens) hope to accomplish with the packaging is requiring child resistant packaging and individual warning labels for the pods, the AP report states. Additionally, the report states the legislators are proposing detergent pods become a uniform color, a departure from the multiple bright colors typically found in each pod.
The proposal of course, has been met with backlash from opposing lawmakers. The AP report quotes New York Assemblyman Joseph Errigo (R-Livingston County), who says that the manufacturers of these detergent pods should not be held liable for consumers’ irresponsible actions. Additionally, as packagePRINTING has covered in the past, many detergent pods manufacturers have already taken steps to childproof their packaging and provide adequate warnings on their packaging.
Packaging Perspective: This issue, as with any that involves the safety of children, is complex, and it’s easy to see both sides. After all, there are regulations surrounding childproofing pharmaceutical packaging and other potentially hazardous products. The fact that there are still an alarmingly high number of reports of child poisoning stemming from detergent pods is significant evidence that the danger of these products is very real.
While there have been some packaging innovations that have increased the safety of these products, such as the Child Guard Resistant Slider that has been implemented on Tide Pod pouches, not all pod packaging is child resistant, and kids are still accessing and opening detergent pod packaging.
And it’s easy to see why this is happening. In my own (child-free) home, we use both laundry and dish detergent pods that come in plastic tubs. They’re very easy to open and I don’t doubt any enterprising toddler could pop open the lid.
Though I don’t have kids, I’m well aware that it’s impossible for parents or caretakers to keep their eyes on a child non-stop, 24 hours a day. Plus, in the blink of an eye a small child can find their way to a place they shouldn’t be. As a consumer, I’d like to have assurance that brands I buy from are doing everything they can to ensure consumer safety.
That said, there has to be a level of responsibility on the consumers’ part. There’s no excuse for ignorance surrounding detergent pods at this point, especially considering the amount of media coverage that has been dedicated to the dangers they pose. Additionally, the packaging provides multiple warnings on both its prime and secondary labels that are very hard to miss. It should be very clear that this is a product that should be securely stored. I’m sure most parents ensure small children cannot access items like alcoholic beverages, so what makes this any different?
And as crazy as it sounds, this issue is not relegated solely to small children. The "Tide Pod Challenge" that made recent headlines saw teenagers eschewing the clearly marked warning labels on detergent pod packaging to film videos of themselves ingesting these pods to post online. While poison control center calls increased as a result of this fad, these statistics should not negatively affect the detergent manufacturers. Toddlers are one thing, but teens intentionally misusing a product widely known to be hazardous should not be the catalyst in any additional packaging mandates.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Should there be regulations on the packaging safety for these potentially hazardous products? Or is the onus on the consumer to be responsible with the storage and use of dangerous items they bring into their home?