Update: A student from Utah State University was hospitalized after eating a Tide Pod on Jan. 20. According to a report from CBS, the student in question ate a single Tide Pod before being taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for an unknown condition.
Original story: Teenagers have been urging each other via social media to complete an extremely dangerous task that could lead to serious health issues: eating pods of Tide laundry detergent. Although it has been an ongoing concern in recent years that these colorful and squishy Tide Pods may catch the eyes of young children, the older set is now willingly ingesting these packets of hazardous chemicals — and that's a huge problem.
According to Tide's website, each pod is filled with dozens of harmful chemicals that aren't ever meant to be ingested by humans, including bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide, linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, and percarbonate.
Teenagers involved in the challenge have been posting videos to Instagram using the hashtag #TidePodChallenge, with scary results. Many of those who put a packet into their mouths and bit down to open the pod quickly began coughing, spitting up, or even getting visibly ill while filming.
In an interview with CBS News, Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Tide Pods, spoke out against people of any age taking part in the Tide Pod Challenge: "They should not be played with . . . Even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter."
A study published in Pediatrics in 2016 found that 62,254 kids younger than 6 years old were accidentally exposed to laundry and dish waster detergent between 2013 and 2014. Two deaths occurred, both of which were the direct result of eating laundry detergent packets, specifically.
Even if they feel that their child would never participate in such a "challenge," parents of tweens and teens should sit their kids down to explain that the risks involved with participating in the Tide Pod Challenge can be dangerous, even deadly.