Pinterest and other websites abound with ideas for Halloween, but one idea should scare you. Tide Pods laundry detergent containers have been featured as a popular do-it-yourself Halloween bucket idea.
There are a few problems with re-using a laundry detergent container for Halloween. One problem is that a child might eat candy that is contaminated by detergent residue left behind in the container.
Another problem is that a child might be tempted to open a normal Tide Pod laundry detergent bucket looking for Halloween candy, and accidentally eat the colorful candy-sized laundry pods inside.
Tide Pods are packets of highly-concentrated, sweet-smelling liquid detergent in single-use “laundry pods,” and they look a lot like candy.
Poison control centers received reports of 4,899 children getting into laundry detergent in the first 9 months of this year alone. It is not normally very serious when a child accidentally eats most types of laundry detergent, but Tide Pods are significantly more serious.
There have been 2 deaths and at least 104 children who required intubation from exposure to laundry pods, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in May 2016.
Laundry pods are also linked to reports of coma, seizures, fluid in the lungs, breathing problems, eye irritation, and corneal abrasion. In addition to the risk of a child being poisoned by laundry pods, there is also a risk of a child squirting a laundry pod in their eyes.
Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of Tide Pods, originally sold Tide Pods in a clear container. In response to reports of children and disabled adults who were poisoned after mistaking Tide Pods for candy, Proctor & Gamble re-designed the container to be opaque bright-orange. This helped discourage children from seeking candy.
Consumer Reports is part of a committee that has set a new voluntary standard for the industry, which includes adding a bitter-tasting substance on the outer film of the pods and ensuring that the pods are tougher to burst when squeezed.