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Tide Pod Challenge

Michelle Goh, Features Editor

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From the Cinnamon challenge to the Gallon challenge, teenagers have dared each other to undergo these ridiculous rituals for fun and for show on social media. Now, the Tide Pod challenge is the new fad, where kids bite into brightly-colored liquid laundry detergent packets or cook them in frying pans, then chewing them up, and end up spitting out soap from their mouths. This trend is clearly ludicrous and garners a lot of remarks about it being simply stupid; however, despite the joking nature of the Tide Pod challenge, it is a serious health hazard.

 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision issued a warning several years ago about the danger of ingesting liquid laundry packets, stating that they contain “high concentrated, toxic detergent.” In 2015, the Onion published a satirical article from the perspective of a toddler that wanted to eat these colorful, attractive pods. At this point, these pods started capturing the attention of older children. Last year, College Humor made a video entitled “Don’t Eat the Laundry Pods. (Seriously. They’re Poison.),” depicting a college student researching the dangers of detergent pods. Ironically, he then devours them, and ends up on an ambulance stretcher.

All of this attention and media regarding Tide Pods prompted adolescents to explore these capsules with their mouth, further propagating the ritual. Last year, 220 teens were reportedly exposed to these pods, 25 percent of which intentionally consumed these capsules, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. So far in 2018, there have been 37 reported cases, half of them intentional, according to the same organization. Those who consume laundry detergent pods have been hospitalized with vomiting, breathing issues, and loss of consciousness. This is because the liquid soap can cause two problems: inhalation into lungs results in purging, while ingestion affects blood pressure and heart rate, triggering fainting and seizures. Teens who have underlying breathing problems, such as asthma, can be gravely affected by these symptoms. Since 2012, there have been eight fatalities reported among children 5 and younger.

 

At any rate, eating Tide Pods is skyrocketing in popularity as an Internet meme and as a “challenge.” As videos showing adolescents vomiting bubbly aqua soap circulate around the Web, keep in mind that Internet trends like these are senseless and lethal. Also consider that these teens compose the shallow, attention-oriented future of humanity who would risk their lives, consuming soap for views. Lastly, do not let yourself be swallowed by the craze. You may end up purging out liquid detergent along with your own self respect.

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