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Dangerous meme culture: Students are eating laundry detergent pods

pods
Why? Why, why, why, why, why would someone do this? Source: Shutterstock.com

We didn’t think we would ever have to say it, but here we are. Please do not eat laundry detergent pods… Or any form of soap or chemical for that matter. Please.

It may seem like common sense not to put household products into your mouth. However, numerous students, mostly in the United States, are doing just that.

The ‘Laundry Pod Challenge’ (or ‘Tide Pod Challenge’), a new and ridiculous fad sweeping social media, has seen students putting laundry pods in their mouths. And there are dangerous consequences.

Tide, the makers of the US laundry pods, even issued a video warning students against ingesting the pods.

Some students have eaten the pods like they would candy, whereas others have just popped them between their teeth before spitting most of the liquid out. A few students have even cooked with them. 

https://twitter.com/memeproviderz/status/947568883589840897

We are all for a good meme but perhaps the line needs to be drawn when easily influenced young people’s lives are at risk.

“This started out as a joke on the Internet and now it’s just gone too far,” Mare Buerkle, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission told Miami CBS Local.

Drinking the liquid inside the pods has potentially dangerous consequences, including death.

https://twitter.com/sluttylinguist/status/951914589222031360

“This can cause a burn to your mouth, your lips, your breathing tube, your feeding tube, your esophagus,” health toxicologist Dr Frank LoVecchio told KWCH.

He explained it isn’t just the liquid which is dangerous, but also the ‘skin’ around the liquid.

“The membrane around it dissolves [and] can cause central nervous system depression.”

https://twitter.com/Lyricoldrap/status/951952068826357760

So far there are more than 40 reported cases in January alone of “exposures to liquid laundry detergent pods by 13- to 19-year olds” to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Students who got the product in their mouths have had “excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping,” The American Association of Poison Control Centers said. Many others have “had breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator to help them breathe”.

The meme is believed to have originally started back in 2015 when College Humor posted a satirical video of a man craving the pods.

“This is grape flavoured, and this is orange flavoured and this is vanilla,” the man tells himself, pointing to the different colors in the pod.

People have called upon Tide and other laundry detergent manufacturers to stop making the pods look so appealing. The bright colors often fool children into thinking they are candy, but students should really know better.

There are regular occurrences all over the world of young children swallowing the capsules by accident but most of the latest cases are on purpose.

It just goes to show, too many people will do anything just because the Internet told them to.

So, once more, it is definitely not advisable to put laundry detergent pods into your mouth. Maybe next time a crazy meme or challenge pops up on your timeline, think before you replicate it.

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