In a case proving how social media can spark incredulous and bizarre trends, the Tide Pod Challenge went viral.
The challenge, which involves teens consuming the small, brightly-colored pods, has already sparked talk online, with doctors and celebrities warning people not to partake in the popular and potentially deadly challenge that has already sent dozens to the hospital. But for those still in the dark, or still trying to figure out how the trend even got started in the first place, there is a lot to know.
Keep scrolling to see all of the dangers associated with the Tide Pod Challenge.
What is the Tide Pod Challenge?
Tide Pods are a line of highly concentrated laundry detergent capsules containing a mix of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and polymers.
While the brightly colored pods have been known to be consumed by young children who mistake them for candy, the Tide Pod Challenge involves teenagers intentionally consuming the pods of concentrated detergent and sharing videos online.
In one stunt, a man even attempted to vape a Tide Pod, leaving him coughing violently.prevnext
Where and how did it originate?
While it is unclear exactly how and where the trend originated, the challenge appeared to have begun as a joke in an article on The Onion, a satirical news organization. Then, in 2017, College Humor posted a satirical video of a man eating the pods because they looked inviting and delicious.
Recent social memes about eating Tide Pods have also been blamed for the trend, and the influx of videos of the challenge being posted to social media, which reach hundreds of thousands of viewers, has only increased the popularity of the challenge as teens seek their 15 minutes of fame.prevnext
What are the risks?
The challenge is so dangerous due to the highly concentrated, toxic detergent contained within Tide Pods. The chemicals within the pod can cause a burning sensation, and if ingested, the detergent will continue to burn inside of the body, starting in the esophagus and lining of your stomach. As the detergent continues to pass through the body it will cause diarrhea and severe stomach pain.
The tendency to gasp for air as the burning sensation kicks in proves even more dangerous, as it can cause the detergent or ensuing vomit to enter the trachea and lungs.
Known potential effects also include seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma and death.prevnext
Are people actually doing the challenge?
The Tide Pod Challenge has already resulted in a spike in intentional exposure.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, poison control centers in 2016 and 2017 handled 39 and 53 cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among 13- to 19-year-olds. In the first 15 days of 2018 alone, the AAPCC said poison centers have already handled 39 such intentional cases among the same age demographic.
"In just the past week, we've seen another 47 cases, for a total of 86 between January 1 and January 21, 2018. We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals -- it can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death," said Stephen Kaminski, JD, AAPCC's CEO and executive director in a statement.prevnext
What should you do if you or someone that you know ingests a Tide Pod?
If someone misuses a liquid laundry packet or has a question about the risk of exposure, the Poison Control Center should be contact immediately at 1-800-222-1222.
If skin or clothes are exposed to the detergent, the contaminated clothing should immediately be removed and the skin thoroughly rinsed with water. If the detergent gets into the eyes, they should be rinsed immediately with water for 15 minutes and medical attention should be sought.prevnext
Social media platforms removing videos
In response to the challenge and in an attempt to prevent it from gaining even more steam, social media platforms have begun removing videos of those taking part in the challenge. YouTube has been working to remove flagged videos that violate its Community Guidelines, while Facebook has also been taking down posts of the Tide Pod Challenge from its platforms, including Instagram.prevnext
In response to the dangerous and potentially deadly challenge, Tide put out a statement regarding the pods, warning that they should only be used for laundry and not for consumption.
“Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes, and they're used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children,” the statement read. “We have seen no indication of an increase of cases seeking medical treatment amongst infants and teenagers associated with the recent uptick in social media conversation or in consumer calls.”
Tide’s Twitter account released a short video addressing the challenge.
What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.January 12, 2018
Tide also has a page dedicated to safely using the pods, including warnings of what could happen if they come into contact with skin or are ingested, as well as instructions on how to contact the Poison Control Center.prevnext
Social Media posts
While videos of the Tide Pod Challenge are swiftly being removed, others posts on social media remain.0comments
Among those posts are a host of memes regarding the dangerous challenge.
(RT) if hungry pic.twitter.com/JBf4aL0g8y— KEEM ? (@KEEMSTAR) January 16, 2018
There are also several warnings that have been posted to social media in an attempt to deter people from partaking in the challenge.prev