Have you taken the Tide Pod challenge yet? No? Good. Then you have at least the amount of common sense God gave a pigeon. (I’ve tested this theory myself and pigeons don’t eat them.) Unfortunately, the same can not be said for everyone since YouTube is littered with videos of people attempting to eat the highly toxic packets of detergent.
So what do we do about it? Well, if you happen to be an elected official in New York, your first, gut-level reaction to any situation is to pass new laws regulating things. And true to form, New York is doing just that, proposing a law which would ban the sale of the products until the manufacturer stops making them look so gosh-darned delicious. (New York Post)
A new bill introduced in Albany this week would ban the production and sale of candy-esque Tide Pods and any other tasty-looking liquid detergent packets in New York — because toddlers who don’t know any better keep eating the toxic products and teenagers who do are chowing down on them for thrills.
The legislation, sponsored by Big Apple Democrats State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, would require companies to ensure their detergent is a “uniform color that is not attractive to children” and is packaged in an opaque wrapper that is “not easily permeated by a child’s bite.”
The American Association of Poison Control Centers says more than 10,000 cases of young kids being exposed to single-load detergent packets were reported last year — and another 606 have already come in this year.
These two Democrats also sent a letter to Proctor & Gamble, informing them that they, “must use a stronger bittering agent to prevent ingestion of pods, reduce their pleasant smell, and make them feel more firm.”
Now, if you came here expecting me to make some sort of Libertarian argument about how the government needs to stop interfering with our God-given, constitutional right to poison ourselves by eating packets of laundry detergent, you’ll probably be disappointed. (Though just for the record, if you’re an adult and you really want to do this I suppose we can’t stop you. Just don’t send your medical/funeral bills to the taxpayers.) The real issue here is whether or not the government can or should regulate the packaging of this product in terms of color and general appearance.
If the packages comply with current laws warning people that the contents are potentially toxic and not meant for human consumption, isn’t that enough? (And they do seem to have the normal labels, by the way.) The information is available and adults are responsible for their own decisions, no matter how stupid they might be. Children are the responsibility of the parent or guardian in charge of them and shouldn’t be allowed access to poisons. This is not a new question and it’s been long since handled in the courts and the legislature.
How are we going to enforce a law which says that a product “is not attractive to children?” Who makes the decision as to what constitutes “attractive” in this scenario? And since when does everything have to be a drab, uniform color? Your problem here isn’t an evil company selling a dangerous product which is in need of further government regulation. The problem is that we are plagued with too many idiots, and many of them are apparently reproducing.