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Teens are eating Tide pods in a social media challenge. This is — obviously — a very bad idea

Tide Pods challenge: the new Internet challenge

Even though it started as a meme in social media, teens all over the country started recreating it by eating Tide Pods as in this new YouTube challenge.
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Even though it started as a meme in social media, teens all over the country started recreating it by eating Tide Pods as in this new YouTube challenge.

Apparently this is something that has to actually be said: You really shouldn’t be putting laundry detergent pods in your mouth.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that in the first 15 days of 2018, there were 39 cases of teens — 13 to 19 years old — intentionally exposing themselves to detergent pods; 35 of those teens did so by swallowing the pods.

Nearly three dozen teens intentionally eating detergent pods? Why on Earth is this a thing?

Often, it’s about viral attention. Videos are circulating on Facebook and Twitter of teens consuming the often brightly colored pods, marked with the hashtag #TidePodChallenge.

In response, Tide dispatched its celebrity spokesman, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, to issue a public-service announcement warning teens away from the lethal trend.

How lethal?

“The resulting health implications from misuse can be serious. Known potential effects include seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma and even death,” according to an AAPCC statement.

The detergent also can cause scratches to the eye if it makes contact.

While poison control centers typically receive reports of toddlers and young children consuming detergent pods — more than 10,500 in 2017 alone — they have seen an uptick in older victims. In 2016, there were 39 reported cases of teenagers exposing themselves to pods. In 2017, that number rose to 53. Teens in 2018 are already more than halfway to beating last year’s number.

So let’s say it again, do not eat laundry detergent pods.

If exposed to a detergent pod, poison control centers are open 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222.

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