In what would seem to exemplify the "mommy state" all those conservatives keep talking about, lawmakers in New York have proposed a bill intended to keep Tide Pods out of the mouths of impressionable youths. If passed, the law would require makers of all detergent pods to individually wrap each of the products, provide clear warnings detailing their toxicity and engineer them to appear less colorful and, one supposes, flavorful.
According to Albany's Democrat & Chronicle, bill co-sponsor and Democratic Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas of New York City said, "We want to make sure these poisonings are prevented. It’s easy. All we have to make sure is that public safety trumps their profits."
Co-sponsor and State Senator Brad Hoylman — also of New York City, also a Democrat — added that "We’re asking for all laundry detergent pods to be uniform in color. We don’t need them to look like Gummy Bears in order for consumers to use them." He added, "We need to impose clear warning labels on all packaging, including each pod."
In a joint letter, the politicians wrote, "While our legislation would only protect New Yorkers, we urge Procter & Gamble and all manufacturers of colorful detergent pods to offer the same protections to the nation and immediately commit to the precautions set forth in our legislation."
The proposed bill is an explicit response to the ongoing series of poisonings associated with the "Tide Pod challenge," an internet-based meme tied to the product's colorful appearance that has spurred multiple people, usually young, to ingest the products.
While surely well intended and possibly beneficial in the case of infants and young children, the proposed law does not seem to take into account the fact that there is little confusion among the teen and adult population as to whether Tide Pods are delicious snacks or not. Generally speaking, many who take the "Tide Pod challenge" are aware that the products are not food and can do serious harm — they just don't care. It's a situation that has left the producers of Tide Pods, Procter & Gamble, in quite the bind.
As well, all detergent pod products are already clearly labeled with warnings about their dangers per federal regulations. Honestly, you can't legislate wanton disregard of self-care out of existence (though politicians on the right and left constantly try).
As the CEO of the company that produces Tide Pods, Procter & Gamble, said in a statement last month, "Even the most stringent standards and protocols, labels and warnings can't prevent intentional abuse fueled by poor judgment and the desire for popularity."