A lawsuit was recently filed against Proctor & Gamble on behalf of small children who suffered serious physical injuries after ingesting Tide Pods laundry packets. According to the lawsuit, the small and brightly packaged laundry pods look like candy to children. The complaint alleged that because they have candy-like qualities and/or play value, children could easily swallow, inhale or otherwise expose themselves to the dangers of ingesting the single-load detergent pods.
The plaintiffs contend that Proctor & Gamble knew the containers were easy to open and should have known that small children would be attracted to the brightly colored packaging and texture of its Tide Pods laundry detergent single-use pods.
The laundry pod lawsuit also alleges that P&G, introduced the Tide Pod product in February 2012, but failed to properly warn consumers about the dangerous and/or defective nature of its product. The laundry pod lawsuit was filed in Ohio, but plaintiffs were residents all over the United States.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the brightly colored pods were introduced to consumers in 2010. Almost immediately afterward, reports were filed stating that young children were mistaking the detergent pods for candy or toys and ingesting them.
In May 2012, the CDC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)began officially tracking reports of children being poisoned after swallowing the pod products. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also reported that children who swallowed the laundry pods experienced symptoms like drowsiness, vomiting, breathing problems or loss of consciousness.
Shortly thereafter, and because of multiple reports of children ingesting its products, Proctor & Gamble announced that it had redesigned the packaging of its Tide Pods. The once easy-to-open clear packaging was substituted by opaque, child-proof packaging designed to obscure the contents and make it harder for children to see the colorful pods inside.
According to recent studies, nearly 20,000 children under the age of six ingested laundry detergent pods between 2012 and 2013. The most common exposure was through ingestion. It was also discovered that one child died from injuries after swallowing one of the detergent pods.
Some common side-effects after exposure to the detergent product are: choking, vomiting, drowsiness or lethargy, eye pain or irritation and red eye (conjunctivitis). Researchers concluded that there is a need for increased efforts to prevent children from exposure to laundry detergent pods. Those efforts should also include improving the packaging and labeling of the products to make them safer and more secure if small children get a hold of the product.
The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), (including Proctor & Gamble) issued a press release stating that the organization is working with ASTM International to address the laundry packet labeling and packaging problems.
The ACI has also been coordinating efforts with the Consumer Product Safety Commission since 2012 to make the detergent pods safer. Additionally, they have launched a multi-year consumer laundry safety program to educating parents and caregivers about the safe storage and handling of laundry detergent pods.
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