Since the Internet and social media became a fixture in our daily lives, we have seen a number of different trends come and go. Some made us laugh while others left us shaking our heads or rolling our eyes.
From the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge to the Cinnamon Challenge and the Saltine Cracker Challenge – they can be used for entertainment, to raise awareness for important causes and even, in some cases, have been responsible for raising considerable sums for charity.
The latest challenge among youth has parents and medical professionals concerned. The ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ involves placing a Tide pod or similar type of laundry detergent pod into their mouths or onto their tongue and recording the results. Videos are emerging all over YouTube of people reacting as the pod begins to dissolve in their mouths resulting in choking, coughing and even vomiting.
“I think it’s kind of foolish because number one, I think most of the problem comes from the coating itself. If you look at data for liquid soap ingestion, just liquid soap ingestion by itself doesn’t cause too many problems,” stated Dr. Joe Krug from St. Vincent Health. “You’ll get burns to the skin, burns to the eye, [and] more severe burns to the respiratory tract, burns to the esophagus.”
The pods include a number of toxic ingredients including hydrogen peroxide, polymers, and ethanol. While there have been no deaths to date from the challenge, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports that they received 39 reports of teenagers intentionally misusing the pods in the first 15 days of 2018 alone. While those partaking in the challenge have been lucky thus far, at least 10 deaths have been reported linked to eating the pods among toddlers and seniors suffering from dementia, highlighting the potential ramifications.
Proctor & Gamble, Tide’s parent company released the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry packets and have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies. Laundry packs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely.”
If you or someone you know has ingested a laundry pod or any other toxic substance, contact the National Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 797979.