Advertisement
  1. Bizarre News

Tide Pod Challenge: Why teens and internet celebs risk their lives by eating them

YouTube personality Matthew Lush bites into a Tide Pod as part of strange and growing internet trend. (YouTube)
Published Jan. 12, 2018

A new internet trend has parents worrying more about their teenagers ingesting laundry soap than their unknowing toddlers.

It started as a joke: memes circulating on the web, poking fun at the fact that the squishy, brightly colored laundry pods look strangely appetizing.

Some commented they looked like giant Gusher gummies, but, you know, instead of a sugary sweet filling they contain toxic soap.

So that's why, to some, it was funny to see Tide Pods in pans on stove tops, Tide Pods in cereal bowls, Tide Pods served like pasta with a garnish on the side.

The juxtaposition, the fact you're obviously not supposed to eat them because they could make you very ill, or die, is what made the images popular.

Then people started eating them as an internet dare. Now, they won't stop — probably because it's turned into an almost sure-fire way to get comments, likes, follows and views.

"Okay, I'm not really quite sure how to eat this," says YouTube personality Matthew Lush while holding one of the pods in a video posted on Dec. 31. "So I'm just going to salt it a little bit."

Yes, he really salts it. Yes, he really bites into it. You hear a "pop" as his teeth puncture the pod's plastic sack. The soap oozes down his face. He expresses instant regret

He spits it out, screams.

"Nooooo," he squeals.

He's racked up more than 150,000 views. A week later, Lush, who has nearly 1 million subscribers, posted a satire video cooking with Tide Pods. He made tacos.

Most the jokes surrounding the craze are self-aware. No one actually thinks Tide Pods taste good or are safe to consume. Yet the videos keep rolling in as teens and social media personalities vie to outdo each other.

Another video from a YouTuber, reacting to Lush eating the soapy pod, posted on Thursday already had nearly 400,000 views by Friday morning.

Since launching in 2012, Tide has told parents to keep the attractive pods, which can look like candies, out of reach of children.

In August, the company came out with a new child-resistant tub with secure lids to go along with the safety seal on pouches released the year before.

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the families who use our products," said Sundar Raman, North America Vice President of Fabric Care for P&G, in an August news release.

The pods are meant to be convenient — they're an easy alternative for anyone used to lugging detergent jugs to the laundromat.

The National Capital Poison Center has an entire webpage dedicated to how harmful ingesting the pods can be.

Rose Ann Gould Soloway, a clinical toxicologist, wrote on the webpage that many of the children who have bitten into the pods have wound up in intensive care units.

Floridians should know of the dangers all too well. In 2013, a 7-month-old boy in Kissimmee died after ingesting an All brand detergent pod.

"Serious effects can occur quickly. They include severe vomiting, severe breathing trouble, burns to the esophagus, and coma," Soloway wrote. "The liquid from laundry pods also can cause burns to the eye and skin."

Tide has several videos and articles about keeping the pods out of reach of children. But none about keeping them out of the mouths of very aware teens and young adults who obviously know better.

"Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they're used safely in millions of households every day," Tide said in a statement. "They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke."

So, keep them out of your mouths, would ya?

Also, the Poison Control hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The Fort Myers woman stepped in front of the plane and was struck.
  2. Michael Psofimis is accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl. Pasco Sheriff's Office
    Deputies said the incident happened in September.
  3. A power boat appears to have run up on the jetty across from Demens Landing Park downtown. "BOYZELL HOSEY   |   TIMES"  |  BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Times
    Two people were hospitalized. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.
  4. Sara Barnes (left) was convicted of burning down the Senator (right), one of the world's oldest trees, while she smoked meth inside of it in early 2012. She was arrested again Friday on a charge of trafficking meth. Seminole County Sheriff/Associated Press
    Sara Barnes was sentenced to 30 months in prison for burning down the fifth-oldest tree in the world. She now faces a new charge of trafficking meth.
  5. After appearing in federal court, where cameras are not allowed, Ramon Christopher Blanchett emailed this photo of himself in a library at Hillsborough Community College, where he is a part-time student. Ramon Christopher Blanchett
    Ramon Christopher Blanchett pleaded guilty Tuesday to the theft of government funds.
  6. A deer stands by clothes after crashing into a shop in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. A dazed and confused deer has been trapped in a clothing store in the fashionable mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, on the Italian Dolomites, before been saved and freed. Local authorities said the deer, a four-five years-old big specimen, entered the shop, specialized in tirolese outfits, by mistake as the assistant was away. Authorities said It was necessary to isolate the whole Cortina's square to allow vets to catch the deer, anesthetize it and then bring him back into the wild. Ufficio Stampa Provincia di Belluno via AP
    The deer, estimated to be 4 or 5 years old, entered the shop, specialized in Tirolese outfits, while the assistant was away.
  7. Carson King, of Altoona, Iowa, center, waves to patients in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital at the end of the first quarter of an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Middle Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa. King plans to donate more than $1 million to charity after his decision to display a hand-written sign before the Sept. 14 Iowa State-Iowa football game seeking money for beer prompted an overwhelming number of donations. CHARLIE NEIBERGALL  |  AP
    Things did not end well for a reporter who called out a man who is donating millions of dollars to a children’s hospital.
  8. Siemers was taken by ambulance to West Yellowstone and airlifted to a burn center in Idaho Falls. He could not be reached for comment. BETH HARPAZ  |  AP Photo/Beth Harpaz, File
    Cade Edmond Siemers told rangers he was walking near the famous geyser late Sunday night without a flashlight when he tripped into a hot spring.
  9. [Times files] LEAH MILLIS  |  Tampa Bay Times
    “Excited about the idea to take a space like this and see God do something amazing in it,” the church’s pastor said.
  10. Michael Joseph Smith, 54, of St. Petersburg is charged with burglary after stealing two lamps valued at $330. Pinellas Park Police Department
    Michael Joseph Smith, 54, of St. Petersburg is charged with burglary after stealing two lamps valued at $330.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement