CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An alarming new trend, dubbed the "Tide Pod Challenge," is making the rounds online.
Videos shared on social media capture teens biting Tide laundry pods. Doctors warn even small amounts of the chemicals found in the pods can cause big concerns.
"Those concentrated of chemicals can cause serious burns. If it gets down into the lungs, it can cause severe damage. It also, when it's absorbed, can cause effects on the brain," said Nationwide Children's Hospital Dr. Gary Smith.
Tide has spent years warning parents about the dangers pods pose for kids. The company swapped clear containers for colored ones and made them harder for children to open. However, it's tough for Tide to stop teens from being reckless with the product, which is why they're stressing the dangers.
When people bite down on packets, they burst and shoot a toxic mix into the throat. A study by Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus shows Tide pods are associated with more serious medical outcomes, more hospitalizations, and more breathing failures than other types of detergents. Even the pod coating is dangerous.
"The membrane around it, when it dissolves, can cause central nervous system depression," said health toxicologist Dr. Frank LoVecchio.
Doctors stress this latest challenge is no joking matter, but that's exactly what it's become online for many teens. Posts show people using Tide pods as pizza toppings and memes combine pods with bleach for breakfast.
Even though most videos show teens spitting out the deadly chemicals, doctors said the damage is still done.
Tide's parent company, Procter and Gamble, responded to this trend with a statement:
"Our laundry packs 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."
Consumers who may swallow one of Tide's products should drink a glass of water or milk and call the national poison help hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
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