In a recent announcement, legislators blame the current Tide Pod craze on the product's distinctive quality stating that they move to influence the company's design of new pods that will bear a less "appetizing" appearance.
Approximately 12,000 calls were made to poison control centers in 2017 due to unfortunate incidences involving detergent pods. Supposedly these numbers have rapidly accumulated specifically over the past three years. As reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, eight people have been killed in consequence to attempting to consume detergent pods two of which included young children. In response to these concerning numbers, grocery stores across the nation have begun keeping detergent pods under lock and key to ensure they are only sold to those of age.
With all of this in mind, one can not help but wonder what or who was responsible for beginning this latest fad. Nearly three years ago, Dylan DelMonico, published an article to The Union titled, "So Help Me God, I'm Going To Eat One Of Those Multicolored Detergent Pods."
"I’ll make short work of the lid and the inner zip-lock bag, and then all that stands between me and slurping down that glorious, vibrant liquid is a thin film of rapidly dissolving plastic that will melt away on my tongue like so much dust scattered by the wind" DelMonico quipped.
The article was unmistakably a satirical piece intended to mock parents from the perspective of their detergent pod obsessed infant or toddler. However, many claim that it was his piece that enticed teenagers to begin the now-viral Tide Pod Challenge. If this is the case, should DelMonico truly be found responsible or is it a matter of the product's indiscernible similarity to candy as legislators continue to claim?
Alas, perhaps the leading cause runs deeper than a coincidentally published article poking fun at the issue just before it began to circulate. Could the culprit be resting between your hands as you read this article at this very moment? Consider for a minute the profound influence technology has on our youth. It is a rare occasion to see a child willingly choose to play outside while one can easily recall the last tantrum they witnessed as a parent attempted to draw their child's attention away from a smart phone, tablet, gaming system, etc.
As you may remember, the CPSC's report stated that the remaining six people who died from consuming detergent pods were fully grown. This means that they may have been adults or teenagers. With more than 30 million viewers per day, YouTube has been previously known to host ongoing challenges (i.e. the cinnamon challenge, ghost pepper challenge, chubby bunny challenge, etc.) that are widely popularized by users between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four making up 11% YouTube's viewer demographic.
Assuming that the vast majority of parents are informed of the dangers of chemical consumption and make a conscious effort to store household cleaning products out of reach of young children, this only leaves teenagers responsible for the growing number of lethal detergent pod reactions. Once more, the appearance of the pods themselves do not logically seem to be enough to entice teens who are old enough to know better. Thus, the issue does not appear to be a matter of concern to policy makers so much as a lesson in common sense from parents.