The latest social media fad could be fatal, doctors warn.
The “Tide Pod Challenge” has taken social media by storm but the craze could be extremely harmful to humans.
Teenagers have been posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the small, colorful detergent pods and daring others to follow suit. Some social media users have posted videos of themselves cooking the pods before eating them, WSB-TV reported.
However, the pods, which contain ethanol, polymers and hydrogen peroxide are extremely toxic and can make people very sick if consumed, CBS News reported.
Marc Pagan, 19, told CBS News he consumed a pod on a dare but knew the detergent was not meant to be eaten.
"A lot of people were just saying how stupid I was or how – why would I be willing to do that," he said. "No one should be putting anything like that in their mouths, you know?"
The challenge appeared to begin as a joke in an article in The Onion, a satirical news organization. In 2017, College Humor posted a satirical video of a man eating the pods because they looked inviting and delicious, USA Today reported.
Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr. of the Florida Poison Information Center, said any amount of detergent from the pods that is swallowed can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. In extreme cases, the pods can be “life-threatening.”
A Tide spokesperson told CBS News the pods were not meant to “be played with.”
"They should not be played with... Even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter,” Tide said in a statement.
The company advised that if the detergent is swallowed, the person should drink water or milk and then contact poison control.
The pods have been blamed for at least 10 deaths, according to CBS, two from toddlers and eight from senior citizens with dementia.