A Utah State University student has been hospitalized after swallowing a Tide Pod amid dangerous viral trend of teens ingesting the packets.
The student was taken to a local hospital Saturday, but her condition is unknown.
The ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ — which involves people eating the small detergent packets and posting videos online of themselves doing so — is a trend that’s gaining traction among teens, but school officials insist the incident was not part of the social media craze.
Nearly 40 teenagers have ended up in poison control centers across the US since the first ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ video went viral on January 7.
A Utah student was hospitalized after swallowing a Tide Pod
‘The “laundry packet challenge” is neither funny nor without serious health implications,’ Stephen Kaminski, CEO and executive director of American Association of Poison Control Centers, said in a statement.
‘The intentional misuse of these products poses a real threat to the health of individuals. We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded.’
Although the student’s condition wasn’t made immediately clear, Tide Pods could chemically burn any tissue they touch, and impair functions of organs like the throat and lungs, Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told Daily Mail in a recent interview.
‘If you get this into the back of the throat, to the epiglottis and pharynx and it stays there for a little while, it literally burns the tissue,’ Spiller explains.
The challenge first appeared as a joke in a 2015 article posted on The Onion, a satirical news organization, and in 2017 College Humor posted a video of a man eating Tide Pods because they looked delicious.
Since emerging trend gained more traction this year on social media, Tide’s parent company Proctor & Gamble released a cautionary video on January 12 featuring New England Patriot football player Rob Gronkowski warning viewers not to eat Tide Pods.
Proctor and Gamble is working with social media networks to remove harmful videos featuring the Tide Pods, which launched in 2012, from the web, a spokesperson told Fox Business.
‘Each year laundry pacs have been on the market, we’ve taken meaningful steps to reduce accidental exposure,’ the spokesperson said.
‘We have co-led the development of industry standard since its initiation and taken actions including adding child resistant closures to the bags and tubs and adding bittering substances to the packets to deter accidental ingestion.’
Social media and video-sharing sites like Facebook and YouTube are also cracking down on ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ videos.
‘YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,’ a spokesperson said in a statement. ‘We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.’