After a wave of alarming videos showing teenagers engaging in the “Tide Pod Challenge,” and eating the colorful laundry pods, Tide, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) have all issued warnings.
“A meme should not become a family tragedy,” reads a graphic posted to Twitter on Friday by the CPSC. “Don’t eat poison,” it adds. In a safety alert posted to the CPSC website, the organization warns that consumption of the colorful pods have resulted in hospitalization due to vomiting, throat swelling, difficulty breathing and more. The AAPCC writes in their alert that eye contact with the product can cause corneal abrasions.
Due to the pods’ resemblance to toys or candy, many of these warnings have focused on preventing children from consuming them. However, with the rise of teenagers putting the pods in their mouths, these organizations have gotten creative with their warnings. Tide came out with a video on Friday that employed the help of New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski.
In the video, Gronkowski says, “use Tide Pods for washing, not eating,” before a warning that the pods are toxic flashes across the screen.
A March 2017 College Humor video called Do Not Eat the Tide Pods, showing a college student tempted by the colorful pods which may have inspired interest in the challenge, has now replaced its YouTube caption with a warning. It responds to recent news reports and writes, "we want to make very clear that our position is the title of this video: DON'T EAT THE LAUNDRY PODS...Not even a little tiny bit, to impress your dumb friends or the internet."
This wouldn’t be the first time Internet challenges have proven to have dangerous results. In 2012, the “salt and ice” challenge had teens putting salt on their skin and then applying an ice cube until the pain became unbearable. The result, CBS reports, was first- and second-degree burns.