Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Highlights Danger of Colorful Laundry Packets

Popular
‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Highlights Danger of Colorful Laundry Packets

By Samara Geller

An unbelievably dumb and extremely dangerous dare has gone viral on social media. It's the "Tide Pod Challenge": biting down on the small, colorful—and potentially poisonous—packets of liquid laundry detergent until they burst in your mouth. Children, teens and young adults are posting videos of themselves taking the challenge—with the gagging, spitting and coughing that follows.


It's unclear exactly how and when the online challenge took off. But the problem, and the danger, is not new.

Laundry pods came on the market in 2012. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says that between 2013 and 2017, there were more than 56,500 reported incidents of children 5 years old or younger ingesting, inhaling or touching the highly concentrated detergent found in single-dose laundry products. Vomiting, burns, corneal abrasions, breathing problems and at least 10 deaths have been linked to pods.

In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, recommended that detergent makers adopt voluntary safety standards to make pods' packaging opaque and more child-resistant. The standards also recommended changes to the packet film, such as making them tougher to break open, or adding a bitter taste to deter children from biting down on them or swallowing.

The safety commission has also worked with companies to reduce the toxicity and strength of the detergents. Since then, reported hazardous exposures for kids 5 and younger have dropped, but still remain far too high. Crucially, the voluntary rules don't require full disclosure of the detergents' ingredients.

The Environmental Working Group recommends strong caution with these products, especially if you have kids or someone with dementia at home. If you choose to use them, pay attention to these safety tips:

  • Keep the products in a high place, or in a locked or childproof cabinet or drawer.
  • Avoid use while children are around.
  • Refer to the product safety information on the package for proper handling and first aid for unintended exposure.
  • Keep the number for your local poison control center, 1-800-222-1222, on hand.
Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Read More Show Less
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world. PickPik

A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.

Read More Show Less
The label of one of the recalled thyroid medications. FDA

If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, check your prescription.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch