Potentially deadly Tide POD challenge trending among teens

Ingredients like ethanol and hydrogen peroxide can be life-threatening if ingested

Photo Courtesy: CNN

(CNN / WLUK) – An incredibly stupid craze is dominating social media these days, and you probably aren’t going to believe it until you see it. It seems that American teens are taking what’s called the Tide POD challenge: putting laundry pods in their mouths and even biting down on them.

Online jokes about eating laundry pods concern doctors, poison control experts

Capt. Garth Schumacher of the Fond Du Lac, WI, fire department, said, “My first reaction was, how dumb is this?”

Garth Schumacher is also a father of two. He was surprised to see videos of teens biting into Tide laundry detergent pods and daring others to do the same.

“Even long before this, we told our kids ‘If it’s not food, don’t put it in your mouth,’ and now we gotta tell our teenagers that,” said Schumacher.

The dangerous trend, posed as a challenge among teens, has turned up on social media sites. Warnings to keep the detergent packets out of the reach of children have been around for years.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than 10,000 children five-years-old and younger were exposed to laundry detergent packets last year. The company that makes Tide PODS started putting child-safety zippers and warnings on the new packaging, but that likely won’t help with teens.

“I think it’s a desire to get likes, a desire to get bigger on the social media scene,” said Schumacher. He says don’t do it, find other ways to get likes on Facebook. “How about a random act of kindness challenge, or something that’s not going to kill you, or create permanent damage.”

The detergent has ingredients like ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and polymers which can be life-threatening if ingested.

“Most of those pods and chemicals like that have an agent in there that breaks down dirt, and it’s usually caustic and cause burns, and it’s like any other cleaning material.”

If you’re not persuaded yet, take it from Tide itself. The company tweeted “What should Tide PODS be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.”

They even received help from New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski to spread the message.

Copyright 2018 CNN / WLUK