Let’s Talk About Tide Pods

Jess Ameter, Contributing Writer

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Okay, everyone, let’s talk about Tide Pods. I never thought I’d have to say this, but the multi-colored laundry detergent pouches are not meant for human consumption. In case you’re totally lost right now, let’s start with the basics. The “Tide Pod challenge” is the latest internet phenomenon to somehow gain traction, where people record themselves eating one or more tide pods and then upload the video to various social media.

You might be thinking this is a bad idea, and if you are, you’re absolutely right. While tide pods may be great for cleaning your clothes, they certainly aren’t great for eating. Yes, the brightly colored pouches are bite-sized, and while some may say their bright colors resemble candy, they’re extremely poisonous.

Tide Pods are full of hazardous chemicals, so when swallowed, they can cause serious chemical burns in your throat and stomach. There’s also a possibility of getting serious respiratory diseases if you inhale any of the chemicals. These effects can be deadly, especially in children. Now, the majority of videos and memes about eating tide pods are jokes or pranks, but unfortunately, a significant portion of them are real.

If you do actually eat a Tide Pod, immediately call poison control at 1-800-222-1222.

Similarly, there was the cinnamon challenge in 2012, in which the goal was to eat a spoonful of cinnamon in under a minute and post a video of it to youtube. Inhaling the cinnamon can cause difficulty breathing and possible serious damage to your lungs. While this seems like it would be safer than the tide pod challenge, the cinnamon challenge had plenty of its own health risks and resulted in at least one death. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 8 people have died from eating detergent pods. While this includes accidental consumption of the pods, such as consumption by small children and elderly or disabled adults, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports that there were 86 incidents of intentional consumption among teens from the first of the year through Jan. 21st, 2018.

But the memes, predictably, have been abundant.

via Know Your Meme

via Know Your Meme

via karibu.world

But is it really funny? When people have died from eating Tide Pods, should we still be encouraging the consumption of them, even jokingly? YouTube has promised to take the videos down, but the problem will persist until people stop eating them.

So, please, don’t eat the Tide Pods.