Despite the fact that eating laundry detergent pods is an extremely stupid and risky thing to do, several people are still doing so and for no good reason whatsoever.
The social media challenge, named the “Tide Pod Challenge” after the laundry detergent brand, calls on people to record themselves eating the pods and post their videos to YouTube. The challenge is based on the simple fact that the pods look appealing to eat, and millennials have taken part in it in pursuit of likes and shares.
Dr. Kathy Belton, a doctor from Edmonton, spoke to Global News about the dangers of ingesting the toxic product.
“These Tide pods or any of these pods have a very high, volatile mix of chemicals in them, in terms of ethanol and hydrogen peroxide and something called long-chained polymers, which start when you ingest them, they cause caustic burns in the mouth and the esophagus and the digestive system," she said. "So you end up vomiting and then once the long-chain polymers hit your digestive track, that starts the diarrhea and it’s not normal diarrhea, it’s explosive diarrhea.”
Belton also mentions that there are long-term effects that could arise from ingesting the pods, including seizures, comas or even death.
In 2015, Tide began coating the pods with a chemical called Bitrex, which gives off a foul taste meant to deter children from eating the pods any further. Bitrex also initiates bodily reflexes to try to get any ingested material out of the system, including nausea and possible vomiting. Unfortunately, the addition of this chemical has not stopped people from continuing to participate in the challenge.
In Canada, there has been one case reported to the Poison & Drug Information Service related to the Tide Pod Challenge so far this year. Such is a notable contrast to the United States, which has seen 39 cases this month and over 12,000 cases just last year.
YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are working to remove all videos related to the Tide Pod Challenge in hopes that it will prevent further cases from arising. They have condemned the challenge and publicly warned that it poses an “inherent risk of physical harm.”