As thousands of young children and far too many thrill-seeking teenagers take a bite out of Tide Pods for any one of a number of reasons, New York lawmakers are crusading to pass laws that would clearly spell out what type of detergents companies would and would not be able to manufacture.
Such a scenario may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s actually happening in today’s world. While just about anyone would agree that eating Tide Pods is not a good idea, the fact that the government thinks it can tell companies that they can be held responsible for how people use their products is perhaps even more frightening than the negative side effects of ingesting laundry detergent.
There can be no doubt that Tide Pods are causing a lot of harm these days. The American Association of Poison Control Centers recently reported that more than 10,000 young children ingested or attempted to ingest these pods in 2017 alone. More than 600 cases of poisoning related to Tide Pods have come in this year. The results of eating Tide Pods are serious even if a child doesn’t swallow them. They cause burns in the mouth and vomiting when not ingested. If swallowed, they can burn a child’s esophagus and stomach. If the pods get into the lungs they can cause respiratory distress and in serious instances may even be fatal.
Many lawmakers are also rightfully concerned about the “Tide Pod Challenge” that began going viral last year. The challenge involves teens and young adults deliberately eating Tide Pods just to see what happens. Nearly 90 people have sought medical help as a result of deliberately eating Tide Pods in the first three weeks of 2018 alone.
Even so, the proposals that lawmakers want to enshrine in law to protect young children from accidental poisoning and young teens and adults from their own stupidity are nothing short of Draconian. The proposed law clearly stipulates that any liquid or gel detergent distributed or sold in New York State would need to be an opaque, uniform color that would not be attractive to children. Furthermore, the detergent would need to be packaged in such a way that young children would not be able to bite into it. All gel and liquid detergent packs would also be required to have a printed warning stating that the contents are harmful to health and not for human consumption. Some have also suggested that laundry soap manufacturers should place a strong bittering agent in their soap and make sure the detergent does not have an appealing smell.
Some would say that the above proposals are not bad ideas. After all, making products safer for use is sure to benefit parents, youth and children across the nation. However, the implications of this law are troubling to say the least.
Holding manufacturers responsible for how products are used is opening the door to an endless number of lawsuits from people who want to blame manufacturers for their own lack of intelligence. Furthermore, if the government can tell laundry soap manufacturers exactly how to make laundry soap, they can then tell other companies how to create and sell their goods. What is more, banning items for sale based on the fact that they could be dangerous is far from a good idea as there are a host of products that can cause injury or even death if not used properly. Examples include children’s swimming pools, kitchen knives, matches, lighters, handyman and gardening tools and even tacks and staples.
Thankfully, this bill is in committee and thus a long way from actually being passed into law. However, the fact that such a proposal is even being considered is a warning sign that the country has strayed a long way from the freedoms the Founding Fathers intended to grant their countrymen.
Instead of blaming manufactures for creating a product that could have adverse side effects if improperly used, it would be far better to expect parents to keep dangerous products out of a child’s reach and teach young people that their actions and decisions can have consequences both now and in the future.
~ Liberty Planet