Teens risk their lives with laundry pods challenge

Sarah Carty

A bizarre trend is continuing to sweep the internet – and it sees teenagers posting videos online of themselves eating laundry pods.

The pods in question are the US brand Tide Pods, which resemble lollies, as they come in an array of colours.

However, while the teenagers seem to think the whole thing is a big joke, experts have previously warned about how harmful it can be to consume the pods.

Dangers of laundry pods

A new online challenge sees kids cooking up and consuming laundry pods. Photo: YouTube

Tide laundry pods

Teenagers are using Tide Pods for the challenge. Photo: Amazon

A compilation video on YouTube shows a number of teenagers putting the pods in frying pans and pretending to cook them, before serving them up in a bowl.

The videos then cut to the kids putting a fork into the pods and biting into them, before a stream of coloured liquid flows out.

Back in April 2016, a study published in Pediatrics Monday found that there was a rise in the number of children getting their hands on the brightly coloured pods and it was having devastating effects on them.

“During the two years of this study we saw an increase in the number of exposures due to detergent, but especially among exposures to laundry detergent packets,” study coauthor Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital told Today.

In Australia, a similar brand is Cold Power Dual Caps. Photo: Cold Power

OMO pods

Omo Pods are another brand of laundry capsules found in Australia. Photo: OMO

“In fact, a child is reported to a poison control center about every 45 minutes in this country.”

The study also found that liquid capsules were far more harmful than laundry powder.

Children have even entered into a coma from ingesting the apparently appetising items.

The craze has been so widespread, Tide has been forced to respond via its social-media channels.

"What should Tide PODs be used for?" the company tweeted. "DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else."

The response from the brand may have been too lighthearted, though, say experts.

"Tide's in an unfortunate position because this 'game' has had serious consequences, beyond being offensive, inappropriate, and distasteful, which are setbacks that are much easier to recover from," brand strategist Emily Schildt told Mashable.

She believes that there are three paths the company could have taken, namely: release a statement and "taken more control of the conversation,"; had a company rep speak as opposed to a celebrity; and finally, taken "serious action," such as yanking product from shleves "to communicate not only the severity of the matter, but also their sense of responsibility, empathy, and genuine concern for the safety of their customers."

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