Even for a stunt destined to be filed under “dumb things teens do,” the Tide Pod challenge raises the bar—to toxic.
Teens are eating the laundry detergent pods as part of a viral social media stunt and that’s worrying healthcare providers and poison control centers.
The trend, called the Tide Pod challenge, involves posting videos and photos of kids biting into the pods, cooking them on pizzas and frying them up in pans. Some just pretend to eat the detergent-filled cases.
But the American Association of Poison Control Centers warns that the challenge could have serious health consequences.
“We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals—it can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma and even death,” Stephen Kaminski, the AAPCC’s CEO said, in a statement.
The AAPCC reports poison control centers have already handled 86 cases of intentional exposure to the pods among teens during the first three weeks of 2018. In comparison, centers saw only 39 cases in 2016 and 53 in 2017.
Proctor & Gamble, Tide’s parent company, is working with social media sites to remove videos that “glorify” eating the pods, and it has created a public safety campaign.
“Ensuring the safety of the people who use our products is fundamental to everything we do at P&G,” CEO David Taylor wrote in a blog post. “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.”