Why teens are ingesting Tide Pods

Caitlin Jefferson, New Media and Promotions Editor

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As if coughing up cinnamon for the Cinnamon Challenge or burning themselves with the Salt and Ice Challenge was not satisfying enough, some teens have decided to partake in a dangerous practice known as the Tide Pod Challenge. This deadly challenge involves biting into the brightly-colored single-use laundry detergent pods, then chewing them until the soap oozes out. People have even gone so far as to cook the Tide Pods in frying pans before consuming them.

Within the first 15 days of January, ingestion of these laundry pods resulted in 39 cases of intentional Tide Pod misuse among teens ages 13 to 19. Researchers have recommended that parents with small children use regular detergent instead of pods because they present a high risk of danger for children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has also discovered that some elderly adults with dementia have also consumed these Tide Pods, as they were confused by the product.

The idea of eating Tide Pods first began in 2015 when The Onion, a satirical newspaper, published a column about a child wanting to eat the detergent pod, because of its candy-like appearance. The concept may have started as a joke, but it eventually became a trend to post challenge videos on the Internet. YouTube faces a severe backlash for posting the challenge videos that teens are posting and is working to remove the videos.

Mercy science teacher Mrs. Sara McGavin thinks the challenge is incredibly unsafe, as her young son frequently uses YouTube and children are easily influenced.

“I believe that kids look up to popular ‘YouTubers’ and try to imitate them for ‘likes’, because kids and teens tend to attempt these dangerous activities for media attention,” said Mrs. McGavin.

Senior Makena Duval shares a similar opinion.

“It’s a meme gone too far, and kids knew that Tide Pods were hazardous but still chewed them for attention,” said Duval. “These kids have health problems after consuming the pods and Target had to go so far as to put sensors on Tide Pods in stores.”

 

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