P&G Trying to Stop 'Dangerous' Tide Pods Challenge, CEO Says

By Sharon Terlep Features Dow Jones Newswires

Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Executive David Taylor on Monday outlined steps the company is taking to keep teens from eating Tide laundry pods for sport, a behavior he called a "dangerous trend" fueled by social media.

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In a blog published by the company, Mr. Taylor said the company has put out public-service announcements and is asking industry and advocacy groups to discourage the game while working with social media companies to stop the spread of videos of the so-called Tide Pod challenge.

"Ensuring the safety of the people who use our products is fundamental to everything we do at P&G," he wrote. "However, even the most stringent standards and protocols, labels and warnings can't prevent intentional abuse fueled by poor judgment and the desire for popularity."

The company launched a safety campaign last week on social media to counter the meme.

Since the start of the year, poison-control centers across the country have reported 40 cases of people aged 13 to 19 years old intentionally ingesting laundry pods, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The group reported 53 such cases last year and 39 cases in 2016. (In case of exposure call the national poison help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 79797.)

Tide Pods were introduced in 2012 and sparked concerns about small children ingesting them. P&G has changed the appearance of packaging to make them look less like candy, added a bitter taste to the product and produced commercials warning parents to keep the pods out of reach of young children.

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On Monday, Mr. Taylor also asked the public to help fight the misuse by teens. "The possible life altering consequences of this act, seeking internet fame, can derail young people's hopes and dreams and ultimately their health," he wrote.

Write to Sharon Terlep at sharon.terlep@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 22, 2018 20:00 ET (01:00 GMT)