File this one under Kids Today.
The Tide Pod Challenge. Say the words in reverse order and it sounds like you’re commanding someone to attack a heaping bowl of Thai noodles and rice. But the reality of the Tide Pod Challenge is far less delicious.
According to various news outlets, which don’t at all have a history of ginning up the actions of a few dolts into a national epidemic, the Tide Pod Challenge is all the rage right now. And it involves eating Tide’s colorful gourmet detergent pods while filming yourself.
Sounds harmless, right?
Well, apparently not.
But more on that in a moment.
The Tide Pod Challenge is actually a meme that dates back to 2015, when, three years after Tide’s development of the detergent pod, The Onion ran a faux opinion piece from an equally faux small child named Dylan DelMonico titled ‘So Help Me God, I’m Going To Eat One Of Those Multicolored Detergent Pods’:
“[Y]ou might as well just set a whole tub of those things down right inside my playpen. Or hell, just place one directly into my mouth, because guess what? That’s exactly where it’s going to end up sooner or later anyway.”
In 2016 a YouTuber called Cyr uploaded this bizarre video about eating Tide pods, which was followed by a College Humor video on the subject. And somewhere along the line this internet meme morphed into a nascent movement of true believers live the dream that Dylan DelMonico once did. Hence the video at the top of this post. And this video. And this one.
Wanting to learn about the possible effects of ingesting laundry detergent and whether or not it’s harmful or just merely tasty, the intrepid journalists of WNEP Indianapolis set about to find the truth. They spoke with a Dr. Joe Krug, and what he said about eating laundry pods was pretty shocking.
“So you’ll get burns to the skin, burns to the eye,” he said. “A lot of problems that are more severe burns to the respiratory tract, burns to the esophagus.”
Detergent. Plastic. Eat. Problems?
Perhaps a second opinion is in order.
USA Today was also on the case, and they spoke with Dr. Alfred Alegaus Jr., of Florida’s Poison Information Center in Tampa. Alegaus also counseled against eating the pods, saying doing so could lead to a “life-threatening” situation.
For its part, Tide released a statement:
“Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes, and they’re used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children.
“We have seen no indication of an increase of cases seeking medical treatment amongst infants and teenagers associated with the recent uptick in social media conversation or in consumer calls.”