The Tide Pod Challenge: A viral trend that leads to vomiting, loss of consciousness and breathing difficulties
Videos have been circling on social media that show kids and teens biting into liquid laundry detergent packets called Tide Pods. Some videos show children and teens cooking these packets of detergent in frying pans, or chewing on them until the soapy bubbles gush from their mouths. This dangerous game is known as the “Tide Pod Challenge.”
Several years ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement warning parents that the squishy, colorful packets are appealing to young children but contain highly concentrated, toxic detergent that can cause major harm when ingested. It is unclear precisely when eating these pods became attractive to older kids and teens, but the social media buzz surrounding the Tide Pod Challenge has certainly made this dangerous trend more popular.
Children exposed to Tide Pods have been hospitalized with frightening symptoms like vomiting, loss of consciousness, and breathing difficulties. Children and teens can accidentally choke on the liquid by inhaling it into their lungs. Ingesting the detergent causes changes in blood pressure and heart rate that can sometimes lead to fainting or seizures. Those with underlying health issues like asthma are especially at risk for these complications.
What makes detergent so harmful for the body? Detergent is basically a Molotov cocktail of synthetic chemicals, including surfactants. Surfactants are molecules that attaches to water and grease to create supermolecules. These supermolucles are dissolved in water, and once in the digestive system, it strips away a significant amount of water and fats. In small doses, surfactants only cause mild irritation on the stomach's mucous membrane, but in higher doses, this effect is much more severe.
Procter & Gamble, the company that makes Tide Pods, emphasizes the products should be stored safely and used only for their intended purpose of washing clothes.
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Photo Source: Buzzfeed.