Over the last month, the meme of eating a Tide POD has become a reality. Hundreds of videos of people partaking the in the challenge, including famous YouTubers like GloZell Green have been uploaded to the site. These videos depict mostly teenagers putting Tide PODs into their mouth and biting into them. YouTube is doing their best to remove these videos including GloZell’s, but the trend has continued. According to The Washington Post a spokesperson from YouTube stated, “Youtube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent rick of physical harm.”
Since the craze began countless sources on the internet have been trying to explain to people that eating Tide PODs can be incredibly dangerous and can possibly land you in the hospital. The Tide POD challenge has grown so big that Tide themselves had to put out an ad campaign with the New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski, telling people not to eat the PODs.
The ad features Gronkowski answering questions such as, “Is eating Tide PODs a good idea?” to which he responds,” No,” repeatedly while shaking his finger. He then says, “What the heck is going on people? Use Tide PODs for washing, not eating.” On the end screen of the video Tide displays a warning that says, “Laundry pacs are highly concentrated detergent meant only to clean clothes.” This video has been retweeted 98 000 times.
Although the Tide POD trend happened fairly recently, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission actually released a warning about laundry PODs in 2013. According to their statement, “Poison call centres across Australia have received more than 85 calls in the last 18 months relating to exposure to these laundry capsules. The experience in Australia is consistent with an international trend, where most cases have involved a child aged five years or younger.”
According to a video done by SciShow on YouTube, in the first 3 weeks of 2018, at least 86 American teenagers have gotten sick enough to call poison control by participating in the Tide POD challenge. This video also outlines a few reasons why people might be so drawn to attempt to consume Tide PODs. Other than obvious one which is trying to get famous on the internet, they also suggest that consumption occurs because they look like candy, and possibly even because of the glossy coating on the outside, which humans are generally attracted to.
Yahoo published an article that actually gives a step by step of what happens when people put a Tide POD in their mouth. According to Yahoo, when a person places a Tide POD in their mouth, before even biting it the POD should taste bitter. This is because in 2015 Tide began coating their PODs with Bitrex, which has an intended bitterness to make people nauseous and causes the stomach to realize extra acid in an attempt to make people vomit.
After someone bites into the POD, or their saliva and digestive enzymes start to break the POD down, they’ll start to feel a burning sensation in your mouth from the cleaning agents lining their mouth and the pH in the pod killing the cells it comes into contact with. This will cause swelling of the cheeks, tongue and lips.
If someone actually ingests the detergent things get a lot worse. Tide PODs are more gel like so it will take longer to get down a persons throat so the burning reaction could start there. The windpipe may shrink from the reaction causing shortness of breath. The person will start to get tired from lack of oxygen. Even if a person can catch their breath, this may cause the detergent to go deeper into the body and reach the lungs. In severe cases this may cause the need for a ventilator. In rare cases consuming Tide PODs can lead to death.
With all of the warning online from various sources, and the warnings on packaging of Tide PODs, this trend seems to be losing popularity. However some people continue to partake in the challenge and upload the videos to various social media sites.