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Internet fads are often stupid, but this latest social media trend to storm the internet is also incredibly dangerous.
People have been posting videos of themselves taking on the 'Tide Pod Challenge'.
It's given rise to a number of warnings against the trend by authorities.
Please don't eat laundry pods. Learn more ways to #preventpoison https://t.co/jjJGA8N1H4 https://t.co/WxJFmeO3Y7 — US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@US Consumer Product Safety Commission)
For those not in the know, you eat - chew and gag - on a brand of brightly hued laundry detergent pods.
Tide pods, according to their manufacturer, are "small but powerful". Predictably, they are also extremely toxic.
This is important.
If consumed, the pods - which contain ethanol, polymers and hydrogen peroxide, CBS News reported - can make people very ill.
Ingesting them can result in nausea and vomiting, coughing and choking, breathing troubles, stomach pain and even death.
Do not eat them.
Picture: iStock / Juanmonino
Canada ended up reissuing a health warning about the dangers of eating laundry detergent pods, originally written for parents with young children who may mistake them for food.
Do you know the health risks of eating #LaundryPods? https://t.co/SkEUlDbxYi https://t.co/RHWpbBDRyG — Health Canada and PHAC (@Health Canada and PHAC)
Tide manufacturer Procter & Gamble said in a statement:
They should not be played with... even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter.
The company said that if the detergent is accidentally swallowed, you should drink water or milk and then contact poison control.
The pods have been blamed for at least 10 deaths, two from toddlers and eight from senior citizens with dementia, according to CBS.
United States' Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) researchers recommend parents with children under six years old buy regular detergent instead.
I’m always a late-adopter but what wine pairs with Tide pods? — Olivier Knox (@Olivier Knox)
i really tried and died for the cause https://t.co/WxtF27BMjP — ari (@ari)
The fictional urge to eat the colourful pods is nothing new.
In July last year, The Onion joked that Tide was introducing apple-flavoured pods, and in March, CollegeHumor jokingly warned people not to eat the pods in a viral comic video.
But these jokes play on the idea that Tide Pods are appealing despite and because of their danger. They should not be seen as a rallying cry to eat them.
Anne Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of CPSC, told CBS News that ingesting the pods carries a deadly risk and is not a joke:
This is what started out as a joke on the internet and now it's just gone too far.
HT CBS News
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