A government watchdog is expressing concern over the dangerous misuse of a laundry detergent. In this latest social media fad, teenagers are putting detergent pods in their mouths in what’s being called the “Tide Pod Challenge.”
The ‘challenge’ requires a person to share a video of them eating the small laundry detergent packs — and their reaction.
In the videos, some kids attempt “cooking” the packs by pan frying them before consumption, sparking the creation of countless memes across the internet poking fun at the dangerous new game. And there’s even a “Hypothetical edible Tide pods recipe” that requires a baking sheet, Sprite and parchment paper.
The pods, of course, are supposed to be used as a replacement for traditional liquid clothing detergent, but according to WSOCTV.com, their purpose was skewed by a satirical story published by The Onion in 2015. The story was about a child devouring the pods after mistaking them for candy.
Then, in March 2017, the comedy website College Humor shared a video entitled “Don’t Eat the Laundry Pods” in which a man downs an entire bowl-full and ends up carted off by EMTs on a stretcher.
“I don’t regret it, I don’t regret it,” the actor in the spoof video repeats while foaming at the mouth.
But “it is a very bad idea!” pediatrician and WebMD senior medical director Dr. Hansa Bhargava told the Daily News. “Pods are full of highly concentrated detergent. Taking bites can burn the mouth and esophagus, which is right next to the trachea and the lungs, so it can affect breathing and lead to death.”
There were more than 10,500 reported incidents of children aged 5 years old and younger having dangerous encounters with the pods in 2017, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Swallowing the detergent can also lead to diarrhea and vomiting.
The Poison Control Center says to drink a full glass of water or milk if a pod is ingested, not to force yourself to vomit and to contact a doctor immediately.
“Parents should also be aware of things like this,” Dr. Bhargava said. “It’s really important for parents to watch for signs, talk to their kids and make time for communication. In this era of constant screens and media and devices, it’s important to start the conversation early in age about peer pressure. Kids will be asked to do stupid things (but should know that they) can come talk to their parents and not just follow their friends.”
This might be the dumbest thing we’ve heard in a while.