WA Poison Center officials concerned about teens eating detergent for 'Tide Pod Challenge'

The Tide Pod Challenge involves teens putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths and posting their reactions online. Washington Poison Center officials say doing so can result in serious health consequences.

There's a new social media challenge online called the Tide Pod Challenge that has left Washington Poison Center officials concerned.

The challenge involves teens putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths and posting their reactions online.

"The Tide Pod challenge started as a joke, a dangerous joke as I may say. It turned into a new online social media challenge when teenagers started putting these pods in their mouth or putting pods in their food and cooking with them,” says Washington Poison Center’s Public Health and Education Director Arti Patel.

But the challenge isn't all fun and games. Patel says that biting into one of these pods can come with serious health consequences, including excessive vomiting, diarrhea and breathing problems.

In addition, she says this challenge left her and her colleagues shocked since it's usually small children they have to worry about when it comes to detergent pods, not teens.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 10,570 children five years old and younger were exposed to laundry packets in 2017.

"Laundry pods are not something to joke around. They're very highly concentrated product and they're intended to clean clothes. They should not be played with whatever the circumstances, even if it's meant as a joke."

Patel says consumers should make sure their laundry pod containers are closed, sealed and stored up high and out of reach.

In addition, she says parents should talk to their kids.

"If any teenager has done this or hasn't done this challenge, I want adults and parents and caregivers to please start having a conversation with their loved ones and talk with them about why this isn't a good idea."

If someone does ingest laundry detergent, Patel recommends calling the Washington Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.

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