‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Harms Yet Another Young Victim

Utah college student was rushed to the hospital after ingesting the detergent capsule — one of 39 such cases already in 2018

by Travis Fedschun | Updated 22 Jan 2018 at 10:35 AM

A Utah State University student was reportedly rushed to a hospital Saturday after ingesting a Tide Pod, which has become a dangerous trend on social media as teens dare each other to eat the miniature, neon, detergent-filled pods.

Campus police initially called the incident a “Tide Pod overdose,” but Eric Warren, director of media relations at USU, told FOX 13 Salt Lake City the female student ingested a Tide Pod.

Utah State University walked back on its claim the Tide Pod ingestion by a female student was related to the social media craze. The school said in a statement to FOX 13 Salt Lake City, "The incident was not in any way connected to a larger trend involving Tide Pods."

KWCH-TV reported the female was taken to a local hospital, but her condition was not immediately made available.

The incident comes after doctors warned people earlier this month not to eat the laundry pods due to health concerns. The warning was sparked by social media posts and online videos of people participating in the "#TidePodChallenge" that involves eating the pods and filming the reaction.

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.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), which compiles numbers on poison control calls, poison control centers in 2016 and 2017 handled 39 and 53 cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among 13- to 19-year-olds.

In the first 15 days of 2018 alone, the AAPCC said poison centers have already handled 39 such intentional cases among the same age demographic.

"The 'laundry packet challenge' is neither funny nor without serious health implications," AAPCC CEO and Executive Director Stephen Kaminski said in a statement. "The intentional misuse of these products poses a real threat to the health of individuals. We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded."

As the challenge picked up traction earlier this year on social media, Tide parent company Procter & Gamble quickly took action. On January 12, it released a cautionary video starring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scolding viewers of even thinking of snacking on Tide Pods.

A P&G spokesperson told Fox Business the company is working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content from the web, and detailed actions taken to reduce accidental exposure to the product since its debut in 2012.

"Each year laundry pacs have been on the market, we've taken meaningful steps to reduce accidental exposure," the spokesperson said. "We have co-led the development of industry standard since its initiation and taken actions including adding child-resistant closures to the bags and tubs and adding bittering substances to the packets to deter accidental ingestion. We've also worked with organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide to educate parents and caregivers on safe use and storage."

Related: Nose Piercings: What Your Teens Never Knew

YouTube has also stepped up, banning all challenge videos as they violate community guidelines.

"YouTube's Community Guidelines prohibit content that's intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm," a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Meal on January 18. "We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies."

This Fox News piece is used by permission; Fox News' Kathleen Joyce and Jeanine Puhak contributed.

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