In recent months, teens have been participating in an internet "challenge" that involves ingesting Tide laundry pods. And as the dangerous challenge becomes more widespread, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Tide brand itself have released statements urging people not to consume a Tide pod and of the potentially deadly effects on their body should they do so.
"The American Association of Poison Control Centers strongly warns individuals about the dangers of using single-load laundry packets other than as intended," reads a statement from the AAPCC, which notes that 39 intentional cases of eating laundry pods were reported in the first 15 days of 2018 alone. "During the past five years, poison control centers have received well over 50,000 calls relating to liquid laundry packet exposures. While unintentional misuse by children five and under accounted for the majority of these calls, a recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets — and uploading videos to various internet platforms including video-sharing websites, social media, and vlogging platforms — has caused significant concern among poison control centers."
The CPSC shared in a report that the pods "dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic
chemicals when contacted with . . . saliva," which can lead to harmful effects including "seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death," according to the AAPCC.
In a recent tweet, Tide shared a video featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, informing consumers of the uses of its laundry pods. "What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else. Eating a Tide POD is a BAD IDEA . . . "
On its Twitter account, the CPSC sent out a blunt message to anyone who is considering eating a Tide pod as a part of the social media challenge: "A meme should not become a family tragedy. Don't eat poison." Anyone who swallows or eats a laundry pod should immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.