By Mikaela Huber, Lifestyles Editor
Tide Pods are dissolvable pouches of laundry detergent that were designed to save time in the laundry room, but they have crossed the threshold between laundry room and internet meme. Although internet memes are usually not poisonous, this one in certain has deadly consequences.
The meme turned into an internet challenge after people posted a video of themselves eating the laundry capsules, which spread the phenomena further. This isn’t much different from other internet challenges such as the cinnamon challenge which was most popular in February 2012.
The Tide Pods’ colorful insides and small nature have many thinking they could be a tasty snack, but some people have taken the joke seriously. Ingesting the pods have serious implications besides poisoning.
Rebecca Kieffer, director of the Health and Wellness Center said, “Yes there are serious health concerns with the ingestion of objects which are not made to be edible or ingested. These include but are not limited to: irritation of the mucous membrane of your mouth, vomiting, potential for chemical burns of eyes and skin, chemical burns to the lining of your esophagus and stomach as well as gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.”
If you do end up ingesting a pod Kieffer advises, “If your symptoms are severe and life threatening it is important to get help immediately. This may include reaching out to our security services or contacting 911. If you are off campus and need immediate help, you should contact 911.”
Tide has taken against the challenge. Tide tweeted on Jan. 12, “What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.”
A fake tweet that appeared to come from the Tide account stated, “We regret to inform you, we will be removing Tide Pods from shelves starting Feb. 1. It’s been a good run, but we can’t risk lives over having clean clothes.” The tweet has been proven to be a fake, and Tide will not pull Tide Pods off shelves.
While Tide Pods are in no way edible, teens are still choosing to ingest them.
“It would worry me if a young adult made the decision to participate in a challenge that would involve reckless and dangerous behavior,” said Kieffer. “It is our strong recommendation that you DO NOT ingest any type of detergent pods.”