Doctors warn the latest social media fad could be fatal.
The “Tide Pod Challenge” craze could be extremely harmful to humans.
It has taken social media by storm with teenagers posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the small, colorful detergent pods and daring others to follow suit. Social media users have posted videos of themselves cooking the pods before eating them.
The pods contain ethanol, polymers, and hydrogen peroxide and are extremely toxic. Eating them can make people very sick if consumed.
Marc Pagan, 19, said he consumed a pod on a dare but knew the detergent was not meant to be eaten.
“A lot of people were just saying how stupid I was or how – why would I be willing to do that,” he said. “No one should be putting anything like that in their mouths, you know?”
The Onion, a satirical news organization, said the challenge appeared in an article as a joke in 2017. College Humor posted a satirical video of a man eating the pods because they looked inviting and delicious.
Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr. of the Florida Poison Information Center said any amount of detergent from the pods swallowed can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. In extreme cases, the pods can be “life-threatening.”
A Tide spokesperson said the pods were not meant to “be played with.”
“They should not be played with… Even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter,” Tide said in a statement.
The company has advised that if the detergent is swallowed, the person should drink water or milk and contact poison control.
Two toddlers and eight senior citizens with dementia have died from eating the pods.
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