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Clearly not content with eating Doritos and snogging at the back of cinemas, the new thing that teenagers are up to now is the 'Tide Pod Challenge', which involves people videoing themselves putting a pod of Tide laundry detergent into their mouth - and eating it.
Credit: Instagram / Ethan Breinholt
There are also similar videos of people popping the pods into their morning bowl of cereal or topping their pizzas with them. Grim, eh?
Now this should probably go without saying, but laundry detergent isn't supposed to be ingested. This means that the viral dare has become a bit of a worry - especially considering some of the participants look pretty young, as we'd imagine the adverse effects could be even worse on younger bodies.
The packaging for the detergent explains that the pods 'May be harmful if swallowed'.
So what are the risks, other than what we're imagining is a truly rank taste? According to doctors, it could cause, at best, a dodgy tum, and, at worst, breathing difficulties.
"Swallowing even a small amount of the highly-concentrated detergent found in pods can cause diarrhea and vomiting," Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr., managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa, said to Maxim.
"In some cases, some of the detergent could even find its way into the lungs and cause breathing difficulties."
And apparently you don't even need to swallow the pods for them to become a very serious health risk.
"You'll get burns to the skin, burns to the eyes, and a lot of problems that are more severe. Burns to the respiratory tract, burns to the esophagus," Dr. Joe Krug told WXIN.
The challenge is thought to have grown out of a popular strand of memes, which centre on the idea of someone wanting to eat the Tide laundry pods because they look like sweet, fruity snacks.
the evolution of the tide pod meme is literally:
tide: don't eat our pods
people: why tf would we eat the pods you morons
people: make memes about tide thinking ppl would eat the pods
unsurprisingly, also people: "tide pod challenge", where you eat the pods
- Jenna Miles (@MilestoJenna) January 11, 2018
Responding to the viral challenge, Procter & Gamble - Tide's parent company - issued a statement, which read: "Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they're used safely in millions of households every day.
"They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram / Ethan Breinholt
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