What Is 'Tide Pod Challenge'? Latest Social Media Craze Has Doctors Worried

Dangerous challenge on social media focusing on laundry pods

The latest risky challenge being circulated on social media has people recording themselves eating Tide laundry pods. Videos are being posted of people biting into the detergent pacs and spitting them out.

Following reports of this social media trend, they have stepped out to warn the public about the dangers of such acts.

Calls to poison control centers increased 17% from 2013 through 2014, according to an analysis of national poison data published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Health risks posed by detergent packets were brought into the limelight in 2012 when the American Association of Poison Control Centers warned against keeping laundry pods within the reach of children aged five years or younger.

"Differences in chemical composition and concentration between laundry detergent packets and other types of detergents may account for the higher toxicity observed", they wrote.

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Online users have joked about how "tasty" the pods look, often calling them "forbidden fruit".

"They don't always have the comprehension at 13, 14, or 15 years old of lifelong consequences", said Dr. Karen Jenkins, medical director of the Piedmont Medical Center emergency department, NBC affiliated WCNC reported. Aleguas said he's seen situations where people who don't know they have underlying medical conditions try a stunt like this and must be rushed to a hospital. Two children died. The packets can also cause vomiting, throat burns and eye injuries. "I can not believe that people are doing this".

Tide parent company Proctor and Gamble released a statement saying, "Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they're used safely in millions of households every day".

By 2015, jokes about wanting to consume the pods had become so rampant that even The Onion had to satirize the topic.

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