By Haley Verre
Young adults will seemingly do anything for views and likes on social media, even if it means risking their lives. The newest hazardous trend is the Tide Pod Challenge, which involves eating the laundry detergent packets on camera to later be uploaded on sites like YouTube.
If the horrible taste of this “forbidden fruit” isn’t enough to turn you off of eating Tide Pods, then the effects it has on your body will. According to Michael Lynch, the medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, Tide Pods are even more dangerous to ingest than regular laundry detergent because the detergent is highly concentrated.
Tide Pods’ exteriors are coated with a bitter substance to prevent young children from eating them. This coating is called Bitrex and will induce nausea when your mouth comes into contact with it. If you still bite into the Tide Pod or let it stay in your mouth until the coating dissolves, the gel will coat the lining of your throat and mouth and kill the cells upon contact. This is because of the gel’s pH level, which is more acidic than what your body can handle. As a result, you will experience a burning sensation in these areas of your body that can last for as long as a few days.
If you swallow the contents of the Tide Pod, it travels down your throat into your esophagus, corroding tissue along the way. By the time it hits your stomach, your body will reject it and then trigger a vomiting response. In some cases, it is impossible to eat and swallow food because of the damage done to your throat and esophagus.
If you accidentally breathe the gel in, it will corrode the cells in your trachea and windpipe. The more you inhale, the deeper the gel will get into the lung tissue, which will lead to a burning sensation. This will trigger an inflammatory response from the body that is similar to an asthma attack. In this event, it may be necessary to receive a breathing tube.
Tide Pods are often mistaken for candy by small children, which can sometimes lead to death. This makes the intentional consumption of laundry detergent all the more concerning. Despite warnings being issued by both Tide and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Tide Pod sales continue to rise. In the first two weeks of 2018, the the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported there had already been 39 cases of children from the ages of 13 to 19 intentionally ingesting laundry detergent pods.
Under no circumstance should detergent pods ever be consumed. Please be safe and discourage others from this disturbing social media trend.