Laundry Pod Disasters
It’s bad enough that many teens are intentionally ingesting packets of laundry detergent in what’s called the Tide Pod Challenge. When they, and younger children, and even adults with dementia wind up with serious health effects due to the toxic chemicals in these laundry pods, it leads to questions as to who is liable for the medical bills? A local injury attorney can help you to understand your options.
Defining the Problem
Laundry pods contain very concentrated laundry detergent, which, when bitten into, are rapidly ingested. The toxic chemicals can have horrendous consequences:
- Permanent burns in the mouth and throat;
- Damage to the digestive tract and lung tissue; and
The fact of the matter is, over 10,000 injuries occur every year related to these laundry pods, despite manufacturer’s attempts to reduce injuries. So far, companies have tried a number of strategies to address the problems with the pods:
- There are strong warning labels and outreach to educate about the danger of eating laundry pods;
- The industry has improved methods of addressing consumer complaints;
- Pods have been treated with a bitter flavor;
- The pod film has been thickened, making punctures more difficult; and
- Pod containers are more difficult to access.
Despite these attempts to address the issue, the number of incidents involving laundry pods is not diminishing, and thousands of individuals face miserable consequences after biting into the pods on a regular basis.
Who is at Risk?
There are three key population groups who are at peril of poisoning due to the ingestion of laundry pods: the very young, the elderly, and teens.
- Young children are consistently attracted to the bright, candy-like colors of the pods; over 85 percent of incidents involve children younger than age five;
- Adults with mental disabilities such as dementia view the pods as a fragrant and potentially satisfying snack, as well. Over 150 cases of older individuals eating the pods occurred in 2017; and
- Teens are more interested in bragging rights than in avoiding dangerous behaviors. To date, nothing manufacturers have done has deterred their fascination with the pods.
Have Manufacturers Really Done All They Can?
Clearly, these products are inherently unsafe. The bitter coating has not dissuaded pod-eating contests, and the thicker plastic sheath has not prevented toddlers from biting into the pods. Sure, no manufacturer can prevent all misuse of its product. But when we see the same kinds of incidents recurring again and again, doesn’t the manufacturer have a responsibility to make critical changes to the product? And if they choose not to put out a safe product, aren’t they liable for the damage they cause?
Fighting for Justice
If a loved one has suffered serious injuries due to the ingestion of a laundry pod, you may be entitled to damages to address the medical bills and more. To find out more, contact Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville. The initial consultation is free and confidential.