POISONING ALERT: Tide Detergent Pod Biting Challenge
Proctor and Gamble/Pro Athlete Rob Gronkowski · Q&A (NJ.com)
It seems every few weeks another challenge takes social media by storm. Some, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, promote a cause. Others, like flipping a mostly empty but sealed plastic bottle of water to land upright, are benign. But then there are those fads that are ill-informed or, worse, dangerous. The latest, the Tide Pod Biting Challenge, belongs in that category.
It involves biting down on a brightly colored laundry detergent packet and spitting out or ingesting its contents, an act that poses serious health risks.
Tide began selling its pods in February 2012. About a year later, federal consumer safety officials were compelled to warn families that young children find such packets appealing.
According to Dr. Diane Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, the pods contain highly concentrated detergent and a variety of other chemicals depending on the brand. “When you bite into these things, moisture-sensitive membranes basically just disintegrate, and the contents explode inside your mouth,” she said in a phone interview.
The chemicals cause severe burns to the mouth, esophagus or respiratory tract, she added, resuling in very young and very old patients with cognitive issues have being rushed to emergency rooms or even dying as a result of eating the packets. “This is not something I would put anywhere near someone’s mouth,” Dr. Calello says.
YouTube and Facebook said they will remove material showing people who have recorded themselves performing the challenge. Tide released a video in which Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots discouraged the practice.
Keep all cleaning products in secured locations so children and pets cannot get to them. Make sure that spray nozzles are in the “off” position when not in use.
Keep all products in their original labeled containers. Exposure to the skin and eyes require flushing with large amounts of water to prevent irritation.
If you have a question about the proper use of cleaning products or if someone may have been exposed to one, remember help is just a phone call away: 800-222-1222.