A disturbing trend dubbed the “Tide Pod Challenge” is growing at an alarming rate via social media.
Those taking the challenge are seen placing the toxic detergent pods into their mouths, with some appearing to actually swallow at least remnants of the contents.
What started out as a “joke” by a satirical newspaper in 2015 may have led young people into thinking it would be “cool” to try for themselves while garnering views on platforms such as YouTube.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Teens Are Placing Tide Pods in Their Mouths & Even Cooking With the Potentially Deadly Detergent Cleaners
Videos of those taking on the “Tide Pod Challenge” show naive teens putting highly toxic Tide Pods into their mouths and even using them to cook with.
In the above video, a young man appears to be dousing a laundry pod with liquid detergent cleaner before stuffing it into his mouth.
One video compilation, which has since been deleted on Youtube (it seems most related to the craze were taken down by the site), opened up with a young man sticking a fork into a detergent pod and then putting it into his mouth. Though he gagged and appeared to spit it out, he could still be at risk if any fragments of the cleaner gets into his system.
A young girl was seen chewing on a pod longer than most, and at the end of the clip states that “they actually taste good.”
Others are putting the pods, which closely resemble candy, into frying pans to apparently cook the dangerous concoctions.
2. There Have Been 6 Reported Deaths & Thousands of Calls to Poison Control Centers Over Laundry Pod Consumption
According to The American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were more than 10,500 poisoning cases by detergent pods in 2017, not exclusive to Tide Pods, which is down from 11,500 in the year prior.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported six adults suffering from cognitive impairment, along with two children, have died as a result of ingesting the pods.
Those deaths were initially reported by Consumer Reports after filing a Freedom of Information Act Request with the CPSC.
3. Some Are Connecting ‘The Onion’ for Starting the Dangerous Trend, While Tomi Lahren Blames Parenting
In 2015, The Onion published a satirical article about a child who wished to eat a colored detergent pod. The joke came after reports of toddlers getting their hands on the cleaning pods began flooding the news.
In July of 2017 the famous publication was again using the cleaning agents as a prop to garner laughs, or perhaps shock-value. “Tide Debuts New Sour Apple Detergent Pods,” @TheOnion tweeted, along with a photo of a faux Tide Pods ad.
Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren weighed in on the issue, saying it’s “a parenting problem.” She stated, in part:
It’s a parenting problem. Like many things wrong with modern society. And I know what you’re thinking…the Tide Pod Challenge couldn’t possibly be political, could it? Actually yes it is. It’s just the latest of a larger problem, the breakdown of the American family. It’s what happens when kids aren’t taught boundaries, respect, consequences or logic. Parents are taught to live and let live, just go with the flow, let your teens express themselves. But this modern lucy goosey doesn’t teach kids right from wrong or sane from insane. It produces wild animals that think they can do whatever the heck they want and get away with it. Parents used to wash their kid’s mouths out with soap and now kids are voluntarily eating it. Is this really where we are? Pay attention parents and do better.
4. Tide Has Responded to the Dangers & Made a Safety Video for Parents
Tide published the above video and dedicated a page on their website to the safe handling of their detergent pods.
The website states the following about safely storing Tide Pods:
In addition to keeping products out of reach of children, to ensure child safety, keep products in their original containers with the labels intact.
After each use, completely close the container, and immediately store the container in an appropriate location out of reach of children.
Choose child-resistant products like Tide PODS® Child-Guard™ Pack whenever possible.
Child proof cabinets and drawers when it comes to storing household cleaning and laundry items. For further information, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide website.
Keep laundry pacs out of reach of children.
When caring for an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, all cleaning products — including laundry detergents – should be secured in a locked cabinet or closet when not in use.
5. What to Do in an Emergency, According to Tide
Tide provided the following safety precautions in the event that you or someone you know has been exposed to or has ingested laundry detergent pods:
Unintended exposure to or skin contact with laundry products usually causes no serious medical effects.
If exposure to the skin or clothing occurs, remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin well with water.
If a product gets in the eye(s), then rinse immediately with plenty of water for 15 minutes and seek medical advice as needed.
If a product is swallowed, drink a glass of water or milk and contact the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting.
Following these laundry safety steps will help keep your home as safe as possible. Know what to do before unintended exposure happens. Read the product safety information provided on the package.
Tide has also attempted to make the product safer by using child-proof packaging. “Easy for you, hard for them,” the company stated on their website. “Our Tide PODS® Child-Guard™ Pack helps keep your little ones safe while offering you advanced cleaning power. When you slide the zipper without first hooking it onto the track on Tide PODS® packaging, you’ll find the bag is still closed. This child-proofing measure makes it difficult for children to open the package.”