Experts: Tide pod challenge can cause serious damage

Experts: Tide pod challenge can cause serious damage
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A dangerous viral challenge is circulating on the internet, and it involves biting into a laundry detergent pod.

The Tide Pod Challenge is a dare for others to take a bite of a laundry detergent pod.

The new Tide Pod Challenge has been spreading for a few weeks among kids 13 years of age and older.

When chemicals from the laundry pods come in to contact with a person's mouth, it can violently irritate it.

If the pod is swallowed, it could potentially cause major respiratory problems if taken in to the lungs. It can also lead to nausea and other stomach pains.

Managing Director of the Texas Panhandle Poison Center Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz said the human body is not designed to ingest these types of chemicals.

"Our body just wasn't designed for ingesting chemicals of any kind, particularly detergents," said Jaramillo-Stametz. "So they weren't designed to be compatible with our tissues."

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Jaramillo-Stametz said is can cause scarring and other damage to the body.

"The effect is with the laundry pods there can be burns inside the tissue [causing] irritation of the esophagus, and irritation of the stomach. [The pods] can even cause strictures where the esophagus closes up. It can cause scarring that causes long term damage to a person," said Jaramillo-Stametz.

Jaramillo-Stametz said this is not the first dangerous challenge to appear.

A challenge a few years back involved an individual eating a spoonful of cinnamon.

"There's just a big draw for it with the teenage group. They want the notoriety, they want to be on YouTube, they want the social media followers. They like that," said Jaramillo-Stametz.

She believes this is an unnecessary way to get attention.

"This is just not a good way to do it. We are just trying to educate them. This is not cute, this is not funny, this is not intelligent," said Jaramillo-Stametz. "Please don't do it. It can actually have long term effects."

In January alone, there have been more reported cases nationally of poising from laundry pods than all of 2017 put together.

Jaramillo-Stametz said despite the recent challenge, poison centers are still seeing calls from all age groups.

"Poison centers overall are still seeing the majority of the cases in young kids, those under the age of 3, who get into the pods while they are sitting out," said Jaramillo-Stametz.

In order to combat the challenge and cut back on the amount of kids who could take part, some stores are putting locking devices on the product.

Professional athletes, including Super Bowl LII contender Rob Gronkowski, are even joining in to stop the fad.

So far no cases involving poisoning from the Tide Pod Challenge have been reported in the Amarillo area.

However, Jaramillo-Stametz said that fact doesn't stop the need to spread the message that this challenge should not be completed.

"One Tide Pod, doing something for one quick challenge, can result in life changing effects or death," said Jaramillo-Stametz. "So five minutes of notoriety can change their lives forever. It's just not worth it."

If someone does ingest a Tide Pod or any poisonous substance, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

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