April 10, 2015 — Proctor & Gamble Co. is facing three product liability lawsuits involving Tide Pods, the colorful candy-sized laundry detergent packets that have injured hundreds of children.
One of the lawsuits is a wrongful-death case involving an elderly man from Ohio with diminished mental capacity. Another case involves 13 children under the age of six whose parents are seeking compensation for “serious personal injuries,” according to WCPO Cincinnati
Critics say P&G should have known that the products would appeal to children because they are brightly-colored, sweet-smelling, bite-sized, squishy, and originally came in a round, clear jar that resembled a candy jar with an easy-to-open lid.
Unlike traditional detergent, the “Pods” contained highly-concentrated chemicals. According to the manufacturer, Tide Pods contain 90% active ingredients, such as surfactants and enzymes, compared to 50% actives for Tide Liquid and 10% for the leading value detergent.
The ingredients makes Tide Pods highly-effective for their size, but also increases the risk of injuries when the product is eaten or squirted into a child’s eye, for example.
P&G has updated the packaging to make it more child-resistant, with a new lid and an opaque container that makes it look less like a candy jar. However, the company denies any responsibility for injuries.
In November 2014, a study in Pediatrics reported that single-use detergent packets sent one child to the hospital every day in 2012 and 2013 in the United States, and over 17,000 were exposed.
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