Poison Center warns against laundry detergent pod challenge

Nebraska Regional Poison Center

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” This question has been asked by parents to their children for generations. But never has this been more evident than in the last several years thanks to viral internet challenges.

In recent years poison centers have received calls on the salt/ice challenge and the cinnamon challenge. The new disturbing Tide Pod Challenge has gained steam across the U.S. This has prompted YouTube, the Google-owned video streaming service to remove the videos from their site.

The Tide Pod Challenge is popular on social media showing videos and memes of teens and young adults putting laundry packets into their mouths. Calls to the nation’s poison centers regarding ingestions in this age group are starting to increase.

In 2017, poison control centers received reports of more than 10,500 exposures to highly concentrated packets of laundry detergent by children ages 5 and younger, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Ingestion of packets has caused coma, seizures, respiratory arrest and death.

Manufacturers of the packets have sought to combat these ingestions by making changes to the packaging and some have added a bitter-tasting agent to the outer coating. These changes, along with public education provided by poison centers across the country, have resulted in a decrease in calls to poison centers.

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center would like to inform parents of this dangerous trend and recommends having a discussion with their children on the dangers of this challenge.

For more information or if you just have a question – contact the nurses at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center by calling toll-free at 1-800-222-1222.