Tide Pod Injury Lawsuit Allowed to Proceed on Implied Warranty Claims Over Chemical Burn

A federal judge has cleared the way for a personal injury lawsuit over chemical burns from Tide Pods to proceed, after refusing the manufacturer’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing a claim for breach of implied warranty to continue.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Ariana Swartz in June 2016, over injuries she suffered when a Tide laundry detergent pod ruptured and sprayed the contents on her neck, chest and arm in October 2014. As a result, she was left with chemical burns, severe skin irritation and nerve damage, according to the lawsuit.

Swartz presented claims for defective design, defective manufacturing, failure to warn, breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty.

Procter and Gamble, the manufacturer of Tide Pods, filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no way Swartz could establish that her chemical burns were caused by the detergent.

In an order (PDF) issued on May 16, U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Leitman of the Eastern District of Michigan, dismissed most of Swartz’s claims, but allowed the claim for the breach of implied warranty to continue, indicating that there was sufficient evidence to establish a link between the burns and the exploding Tide Pod.

“Swartz did not have a burn on her breast when she began doing her laundry. And only one thing happened to her breast between the time she started washing her clothes and the time the burn appeared on her breast roughly two hours later: her breast came into contact with the concentrated detergent from the POD,” Judge Leitman noted. “Indeed, when the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to Swartz, it would appear to be mere speculation to conclude that the chemical burn on her breast was caused by anything other than the contact with the concentrated detergent.”

The case is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where it is expected that a trial date will now be scheduled following Judge Leitman’s ruling on the Motion for Summary Judgment.

Tide Pod Safety Concerns

The lawsuit is one of a growing number of claims being pursued over Tide Pod injuries, which have also been linked to thousands of reports involving laundry detergent poisoning among children who mistook the small packs for candy or chew toys.

Proctor & Gamble has faced criticism for marketing the single-load laundry detergent packs in bright colors that resemble infant teething toys, and for selling Tide Pods in packaging that resembles candy.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has reported that more than 10,000 calls involving laundry pod ingestion problems are received nationwide every year involving children five and younger exposed to Tide Pods and other similar laundry detergent packs, such as All Mighty Pacs, Purex UltraPacks and others. As of the end of March 2018, poison centers nationwide had already received calls on nearly 2,000 incidents involving children.

The incidents peaked in 2015, when poison centers received more than 12,000 exposure reports involving children five and under. Recent years have trended slightly downward, as manufacturers made several design changes and more parents become aware of the risks. However, if the current rate continues, this year would still result in about 8,000 exposure reports involving young children.

Those numbers do not include poisoning incidents linked to teenagers and adults. Earlier this year, the AAPCC noted that it has seen a spike in intentional ingestion of Tide Pods and other detergent packets among teenagers, due to an internet “Tide Pod Challenge” that encourages eating the pods on purpose.

In 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued warnings to alert the public about the risk of detergent packet injuries. The safety alert highlighted the poisoning risk the packets pose to children who are exposed to the product, and came after several other regulatory agencies and health experts raised concerns about the risks associated with the single-use detergent packets.

In response to substantial criticism over the brightly colored packaging Tide Pods are sold in, Proctor & Gamble did agree to make several changes to their product packages in 2013.

The manufacturer altered the containers to an opaque material, instead of a clear plastic, to deter children from seeing the brightly colored product and trying to get inside the container. However, many say those changes were not enough.

A number of laundry pod exposure lawsuits are now being pursued against various manufacturers, alleging that inadequate steps were taken to ensure the safety of the products. Plaintiffs say stronger warnings should have been provided about the importance of keeping the pods out of the reach of children, and that individual packaging for the pods would reduce the risk of injury.

20 Comments

  • ChiaraApril 13, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    I have a severe chemical burn on my right thigh about 8inchs in diameter after a tide pod not fully dissolving in the wash. It is 100% from the pod, as there is even residue and an extensive smell of the tide pod right in the area on my pants where my burn is. I fully follow the instructions for the use of the pods. Action needs to be taken and something needs to happen over this.

  • haroldDecember 11, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    I have used Tide cloths cleaner, testicles bright red burning pain, rash in groin, seen several doctors, different medications, been to urgent care, dermatologist, has been on going for 6 months or longer.

  • MahaliAugust 21, 2021 at 2:13 am

    My nipple has been burnt off partially from tide pod leftover in my bra TODAY. AUG 20 2021. how do I know it’s from this detergent? Because I have never used this detergent before I borrowed it from a friend, washed, dried and wore it today. My breast is swollen,burnt and on fire.

  • GageJuly 12, 2021 at 7:02 am

    This should not be a thing!

  • JodieJune 5, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Today makes number 3 that I have been in the hospital with my three year old from gain laundry pods she had surgery yesterday to scrape the skin that ranges from her shoulder down to her private area across her stomach and onto her leg suffered severe chemical burns due to the new gain laundry pods that has the intense smell to them I would love to speak to a lawyer if anyone has any information t[Show More]Today makes number 3 that I have been in the hospital with my three year old from gain laundry pods she had surgery yesterday to scrape the skin that ranges from her shoulder down to her private area across her stomach and onto her leg suffered severe chemical burns due to the new gain laundry pods that has the intense smell to them I would love to speak to a lawyer if anyone has any information to point me in the right direction please please let me know my daughter has went through living hell

  • JodieJune 5, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Today makes number 3 that I have been in the hospital with my three year old from gain laundry pods she had surgery yesterday to scrape the skin that ranges from her shoulder down to her private area across her stomach and onto her leg suffered severe chemical burns due to the new gain laundry pods that has the intense smell to them I would love to speak to a lawyer if anyone has any information t[Show More]Today makes number 3 that I have been in the hospital with my three year old from gain laundry pods she had surgery yesterday to scrape the skin that ranges from her shoulder down to her private area across her stomach and onto her leg suffered severe chemical burns due to the new gain laundry pods that has the intense smell to them I would love to speak to a lawyer if anyone has any information to point me in the right direction please please let me know my daughter has went through living hell

  • SherondaMay 15, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    After wash our clothes the next couple days I work up to my skin burning like it was on fire. I was in a lot of pain my face rough and my arm. I told my husband I didn't know what is was at 1st neck day he experience the same thing on his legs and arms we did nothing different experience use the tied very annoyed.

  • SteveApril 6, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Same happened to me as another poster. Pod did not completely dissolve and there was a concentrated build up of detergent in parts of my laundry. Had horrible burns on my back, arms and legs. When I took off the shirt, you could see the build up and smell the detergent and I found a partially dissolved peice of plastic stuck to the clothes. Poorly produced product. Will not use again - switched to[Show More]Same happened to me as another poster. Pod did not completely dissolve and there was a concentrated build up of detergent in parts of my laundry. Had horrible burns on my back, arms and legs. When I took off the shirt, you could see the build up and smell the detergent and I found a partially dissolved peice of plastic stuck to the clothes. Poorly produced product. Will not use again - switched to liquid. Thankfully no permanent injury - cleared up after a week of home remedy!

  • SamanthaApril 5, 2021 at 5:48 am

    I washed my robe , the tide pod did not fully resolve , the side it was on was touching my neck , shoulder and chest. It felt like something was burning me and it was , the soap in the pod!! If tide KNOWS that theses burns happen, why do they not NOT CHANGE the way they make them? They ARE VERY PAINFUL and can cause permanent scaring. I will NEVER buy tide pods again and I am posting this article [Show More]I washed my robe , the tide pod did not fully resolve , the side it was on was touching my neck , shoulder and chest. It felt like something was burning me and it was , the soap in the pod!! If tide KNOWS that theses burns happen, why do they not NOT CHANGE the way they make them? They ARE VERY PAINFUL and can cause permanent scaring. I will NEVER buy tide pods again and I am posting this article as well as my tide burn on ALL social media.

  • DaltonMarch 27, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    I woke up in the middle of the night in immense pain. I went to the bathroom and my scrotum was burning. There was an undissolved tide pod in my underwear and now my scrotum is blistered and very painful. I want to know if there is any legal action I can take, also want to know if it will affect my fertility. Very, very disappointed in Tide and I am shocked that these pods are still on the market.[Show More]I woke up in the middle of the night in immense pain. I went to the bathroom and my scrotum was burning. There was an undissolved tide pod in my underwear and now my scrotum is blistered and very painful. I want to know if there is any legal action I can take, also want to know if it will affect my fertility. Very, very disappointed in Tide and I am shocked that these pods are still on the market. Horrible product and it will probably scare my reproductive organs.

  • AshleyFebruary 13, 2021 at 5:46 am

    Same thing happened to me as many are describing. I put pajamas on to go to bed and woke up in extreme pain in my arm pit area. I noticed the area was bright red and looked like a burn or rash. I couldn’t figure out what happened initially until I took my shirt off and found a half dissolved tide pod stuck to the arm pit of my shirt. What’s upsetting is it’s not something you can feel until the da[Show More]Same thing happened to me as many are describing. I put pajamas on to go to bed and woke up in extreme pain in my arm pit area. I noticed the area was bright red and looked like a burn or rash. I couldn’t figure out what happened initially until I took my shirt off and found a half dissolved tide pod stuck to the arm pit of my shirt. What’s upsetting is it’s not something you can feel until the damage is already done. I’m 20 weeks pregnant and super cautious about everything I do. Terrible timing to be getting a chemical burn! This should NOT be happening to people. I can’t believe this product still exists after reading all these complaints, some of them several years old.

  • IndiaFebruary 12, 2021 at 2:42 am

    After laundering my grandchildren’s bedding my granddaughter woke up screaming her neck hurt. I figured she had a stiff neck from the way she slept. As I sat with her trying to eliminate the pain I smelled a strong smell of detergent. I took her pajamas off to find chemical burns on her neck, chest,shoulder, face ,groin and thigh. She was seen by her pediatrician and treated for chemical burns bec[Show More]After laundering my grandchildren’s bedding my granddaughter woke up screaming her neck hurt. I figured she had a stiff neck from the way she slept. As I sat with her trying to eliminate the pain I smelled a strong smell of detergent. I took her pajamas off to find chemical burns on her neck, chest,shoulder, face ,groin and thigh. She was seen by her pediatrician and treated for chemical burns because my tide pods did not totally dissolve in the wash. I wash laundry in hot water only and always do a second rinse. This should of never have happened to my baby. I will never use tide products ever again.

  • SamanthaFebruary 7, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I was burned badly last week because of Tide pod. I washed a load of clothing last week. My pajamas were included in that load. I bathed that night, and out on my pajamas. I woke up the next morning with my neck feeling like it was on fire. I headed to the bathroom to further inspect the area. Upon removing my pajama top, I saw that my neck and shoulder were burned badly. All I could smell in my p[Show More]I was burned badly last week because of Tide pod. I washed a load of clothing last week. My pajamas were included in that load. I bathed that night, and out on my pajamas. I woke up the next morning with my neck feeling like it was on fire. I headed to the bathroom to further inspect the area. Upon removing my pajama top, I saw that my neck and shoulder were burned badly. All I could smell in my pajama top was an overwhelming smell of Tide . My shoulder stayed raw for days, as well as my arm and neck. It was a very painful experience. I’m scarred for life. I’ll never purchase any tide products again. I’ve encouraged my family and friends to not purchase either.

  • TomokoJanuary 31, 2021 at 2:36 am

    This article is already two years ago, so my comment may be too late, but a large part of my skin on my back got burned from Tide pod soap. If someone is initiating a group lawsuits, I want to be a part of.

  • BriDecember 15, 2020 at 3:08 am

    I got a burn after wearing a shirt with tide Pod soap that had not dissolved. I took off the shirt (was wearing it as an undershirt) half way through the day but the painful burning continued until I was able to get home and wash with dove soap. The area was red painful and inflamed. Couldn't even touch it for a few hours after. Still hurts

  • VondaJune 12, 2020 at 5:38 am

    I washed my workout suit using Tide Pods. As I was exercising I noticed the left and right side of my back start to itch really bad. I thought my back was itching because I was sweating really bad. About an hour and half later I finished my 5 mile walk on my treadmill. I immediately went upstairs to see what was going on with my back because I could not take the itching any longer. One I got my [Show More]I washed my workout suit using Tide Pods. As I was exercising I noticed the left and right side of my back start to itch really bad. I thought my back was itching because I was sweating really bad. About an hour and half later I finished my 5 mile walk on my treadmill. I immediately went upstairs to see what was going on with my back because I could not take the itching any longer. One I got my suit off my back was itching and burning soooo bad. I started to scratch my back to get some relief, and notice soap on my hand. I could not figure out where the soap came from. I looked I the mirror to see why my back was itching so bad, and was shocked at what I saw! Really red, raised bumps, and white flesh where the skin had come off my back. I was still puzzled, and could not figure what was going on with my back. I jumped in the shower to get some relief, hoping the itching and burning would stop. The cool water calmed the the itching and burning a little. I inspected my workout suit and noticed an undesolved tide pod stuck on the inside of my workout suit. Bingo mystery solved. I've been too afraid to go to the E.R. due to COVID-19, but I may have to go. The burning and itching has not stopped. I've been putting cold wash clothes on the affected areas, and hydrocortisone cream. Not getting much relief....sitting with my back pressed against anything brings on the itching and burning again....

  • DonaldMay 3, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Developed a severe rash on inside left thigh and left side of scrotum. Turned purple and started blistering and them pealing of skin. Stung and burned for days. Told my wife it looked like a chemical burn and she said she had a tide pod not to dissolve one day leaving some residual plastic on her shirt. I found that curious and went to look at underwear I was wearing and sure enough there was a p[Show More]Developed a severe rash on inside left thigh and left side of scrotum. Turned purple and started blistering and them pealing of skin. Stung and burned for days. Told my wife it looked like a chemical burn and she said she had a tide pod not to dissolve one day leaving some residual plastic on her shirt. I found that curious and went to look at underwear I was wearing and sure enough there was a piece of plastic pod and stain from detergent on them. Was relieved that we found the problem but still burning days later but discoloration is improving.

  • DoriFebruary 17, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Yesterday, I started a load of laundry and the tide pods were stuck together when I pulled them apart one burst all over my shoulder. I have a Severe chemical burn from it

  • BrettJuly 26, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Last night after doing my laundry I took it out of the dryer and got dressed a pair of shoes with fire my laundry after putting on the shoes and leaving my house to go to work my foot sorry burning and itching causing excruciating pain so when I took off my shoe I had to come to realize there was a tide pod not completely dissolved in my shoe which cause a chemical burn on the top of my foot resul[Show More]Last night after doing my laundry I took it out of the dryer and got dressed a pair of shoes with fire my laundry after putting on the shoes and leaving my house to go to work my foot sorry burning and itching causing excruciating pain so when I took off my shoe I had to come to realize there was a tide pod not completely dissolved in my shoe which cause a chemical burn on the top of my foot results in thousands of dollars of doctor bills and unable to work do I have a lawsuit

  • ElizabethJune 13, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I was burned by a tide pod today and it hurts like crazy! Somehow one didn’t dissolve when I was doing laundry and it got stuck to the inside of my shirt - I wore the stupid thing. around till I started feeling the burn. We follow the directions when we use Tide Pods and have always like the product, but this should never have happened.

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