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Procter and Gamble faces a new product liability lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania woman, which alleges that she suffered severe chemical burns from Tide Pods, after one of the prefilled laundry detergent packs ruptured and squirted on her.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Jennifer Dotel in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on December 19, indicating that Tide Pods are defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous for consumers.
Dotel indicates that she went to use the pods to do her laundry on October 28, 2014, but opened the container to find several had adhered together.
“In the course of separating the pods that were stuck together, one of the pods ruptured and discharged the liquid contents contained therein, in a jet stream, as if fired from a squirt gun,” the lawsuit alleges. “The pods formed together after being put into the container creating the necessity of the consumer to pull apart the fused pods. The Defendant failed to warn that pods fused together should not be pulled apart.”
The Tide Pod lawsuit presents claims against Procter & Gamble for strict liability and breach of warranty, seeking both compensatory damages for medical costs and other damages, as well as punitive damages that are designed to punish the manufacturer for placing consumers at risk.
Tide Pod Safety Concerns
The lawsuit is the latest in a number of reports involving problems with Tide Pods, 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 involving children five and younger exposed to Tide Pods and other similar laundry detergent packs, such as All Mighty Pacs, Purex UltraPacks and others.
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.