The “Tide Pod Challenge,” where a person films themselves chomping on the all-in-one laundry pods, has been making waves. Not just for its seemingly viral presence on social media, but also for the risks involved in taking part. The mixture can be incredibly poisonous, leading one toxicologist to speak out, warning people of what it can do to their bodies.
Dr. Herman Gomez, a physician at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, issued a dire warning to those participating in the challenge and is even calling for Tide Pods to be removed from store shelves because of the danger.
“It is insane,” said Gomez during an interview with ABC 12. “I feel that it’s insane that this product is out there.”
Gomez explained that Tide Pods are a combination of pressure, detergent, and an alkaline substance, adding, “It can go through skin, it can eat through eyes, it can eat through mouth, it can eat through the esophagus and through the lungs to the point where deaths have been reported.”
According to Gomez, the risks begin as soon as a person bites into the pod, as the pressure is released, allowing the mixture to spray into a person’s face.
But many people, predominately teenagers, continue to take participate in the challenge, filming themselves eating the toxic product and sharing the footage on social media.
“Nothing like this is worth 10 minutes of internet fame,” said Gomez, “and certainly, risking one’s life, it’s not worth doing that.”
Gomez also asserted that, since the product hit shelves, there has been a concern about the level of toxicity, as well as the number of people, including children, who ingest some of the mixture.
“There is one ingestion reported every 45 minutes across the country, one child exposed,” he said. “80% of those are toddlers; they’re children who don’t know better, they think it’s candy.”
He has personally seen five toddlers who came in contact with the mixture in laundry pods, two of which were admitted to the ICU.
Along with warning parents to store items like Tide Pods away from children, Gomez is also asking teenagers to find a different challenge, one with fewer risks.
“Don’t bite on the Tide Pods,” said Gomez. “Work on your math and prove your superiority to your friends because of your homework, that’s my suggestion to the adolescents.”
Tide has also come out against the challenge, and many social media channels have begun working to remove the videos of those who took part.