The consumption of Tide Pods, a line of laundry detergent pack from Proctor & Gamble’s Tide brand, is a new viral trend among teenagers. Community members demonstrate that the craze is happening in the greater Ogden area.
The “Tide Pod Challenge” is simple and dangerous: place a laundry detergent pod in your mouth and eat it. The trend may be circulating with videos on the internet, but the health risks are insurmountable.
According to the warning label located on the packaging of Tide Pods, the laundry detergent packs may be harmful if swallowed and can irritate eyes. If an ingesting incident occurs, the label suggests calling a poison control center.
Intentionally eating laundry detergent seems like a dangerous choice according to Proctor & Gamble. With the health risks listed and companies declaring their danger, why is it that teenagers are choosing to ignore the warnings and eat Tide Pods anyway?
“I have seen countless teenagers admitted to the hospital for overdosing on drugs,” said Allison Checketts, former surgical technician at Intermountain Healthcare McKay-Dee Hospital. “I think this Tide Pod challenge is a new way for kids to get some type of high, feel a rush, get attention or trying to be funny. Not the smartest or safest way to get attention, in my opinion.”
Attention-getting or not, the trend has reached local high school students as several have attempted to consume the laundry packs.
“I just thought it would be funny,” said Brody Chapman, a high school student who claims to have attempted the challenge. “I bit into it and immediately spit it out and rinsed my mouth. It was gross and tasted like soap, but at least I can say I tried.”
Proctor & Gamble released a statement saying that laundry packs are solely made to clean clothes. Additionally, the company mentioned they should not be played with even if meant as a joke. The cleaning products should be used properly and stored safely.
Proctor & Gamble took to social media with the help of Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots football player, saying Tide Pods should be used for laundry and nothing else.
“Adolescents are prone to engagement in what is socially deemed as irresponsible,” said Keely Christensen, a speech therapy teacher at Lakeside Elementary.
“Adolescents do not have a fully developed frontal cortex and this can be a dramatic explanation of much of this type of behavior,” Christensen continued. “Teenagers often times do not have reasoning capabilities of those that are older and more mature. The lack of these reasoning capabilities can fuel the adolescent into attention-grabbing activities that may result in physical, mental and emotional harm.”
Additional viral challenges have emerged in the past decade where adolescents participate in a harmful act for viral attention. This includes swallowing cinnamon, eating saltine crackers with no water and letting others beat the challenger with their backpack contents.
Physically consuming a Tide Pod is dangerous. This is evidenced in the number of teenagers who have been hospitalized from attempting the challenge. We may never know for certain why an individual chooses to participate in the tide pod challenge, but “at least we can say we tried.”