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” shows naive teens putting highly toxic Tide Pods into their mouths and even using them to cook with.
The video above opens up with a young man sticking a fork into a detergent pod and then sticking it into his mouth. Though he gags and appears to spit it out, he could still be at risk if any fragments of the cleaner gets into his system.
At the 1:25 mark of the film, a young girl is 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, 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
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.
4. Tide Has Responded to the Dangers & Made a Safety Video for Parents
In addition to the above video where Tide talks about the safe handling of its detergent pods with children, they have also dedicated a page on their website to the safe handling of the cleaning agents.
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.”