What Actually Happens To Your Body If You Eat A Tide Pod

Photo: Kyle T. Perry / Shutterstock
What Actually Happens To Your Body If You Eat A Tide Pod

By Alessia Santoro 

Remember when teens participated in an internet "challenge" that involved ingesting Tide laundry pods

As the dangerous challenge became more widespread, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Tide brand released statements urging people not to consume a Tide pod, and of the potentially deadly effects on their body, should they do so.

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"The American Association of Poison Control Centers strongly warns individuals about the dangers of using single-load laundry packets other than as intended," read a statement from the AAPCC, which noted that 39 intentional cases of eating laundry pods had been reported in the first 15 days of 2018 alone.

"During the past five years, poison control centers have received well over 50,000 calls relating to liquid laundry packet exposures. While unintentional misuse by children five and under accounted for the majority of these calls, a recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets — and uploading videos to various internet platforms including video-sharing websites, social media, and vlogging platforms — has caused significant concern among poison control centers."

The CPSC shared in a report that the pods "dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic chemicals when contacted with... saliva," which can lead to harmful effects including, "seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death," according to the AAPCC.

The managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr, also weighed in, saying that consuming a Tide pod could become a "life-threatening" situation.

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Ingesting even a small amount can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and, in some more extreme cases, it could even find its way to the lungs and cause breathing problems.

And the scariest part is that most won't even know they're experiencing such a risk until it actually happens.

Aleguas has said that he's witnessed many situations like this. "Ending up in the emergency room is no joke," he said. 

In a 2018 tweet, Tide shared a video featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, informing consumers of the uses of its laundry pods.

"What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else. Eating a Tide POD is a BAD IDEA..." read the tweet. 

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On its Twitter account, the CPSC sent out their own blunt message to anyone who was considering eating a Tide pod as a part of the social media challenge:

"A meme should not become a family tragedy. Don't eat poison. Anyone who swallows or eats a laundry pod should immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222."

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Alessia Santoro is a writer who covers family, parenting, and health and wellness. For more of her health and wellness content, visit her author profile on PopSugar.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in February 2018 and was updated with the latest information.

This article was originally published at PopSugar . Reprinted with permission from the author.