YouTube Pulls Tide Pod Challenge Videos As Viral Craze Turns Dangerous

It's all fun and games on the Internet until some idiot dreams up the Tide Pod challenge, followed by more idiots partaking in this idiotic viral phenomenon. The challenge, in case you haven't come across it on social media, is to stick the detergent capsule into your mouth and chew it, munch it, and ultimately eat the colorful pod filled with concentrated detergent. It's not just disgusting, it's stupid and dangerous. So much so that YouTube is pulling videos of the challenge.

Tide Pods
Image Source: Flickr via Austin Kirk

"YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies," YouTube said in a statement.

Part of the concern here, other than what this says about the erosion of the human race, is that the pods with swirly colors may look appetizing to children who happen across one of these videos. Obviously parents should be monitoring what their kids watch online and have access to in the home, but in the real world, it doesn't help matters when a craze like this spreads like wildfire, as it has done.
And yes, this is a real thing. It's also garnered multiple warnings, because apparently we need to be told that eating laundry detergent is not a good idea. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission put out a plea on Twitter not to eat poison, adding that "a meme should not become a family tragedy." And in case you are wondering, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) received 39 reports of teenagers eating Tide Pods in the first two weeks of 2018.
Proctor & Gamble also took to Twitter, through its Tide brand, to discourage people from eating Tide Pods. It enlisted the help of Rob Gronkowski, star tight-end for the New England Patriots football team. Gronk is seen saying "No" repeatedly in response to questions asking if anyone should ever eat a Tide Pod, even as a joke.

For anyone who might be on the fence about eating a Tide Pod (or any laundry detergent), here's the deal. Consumer Reports warns that while the exact blend of ingredients in any laundry pod is proprietary, they generally contain a toxic mix of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and long-chain polymers that are can burn through the lining of your stomach. And because the film around the chemicals dissolves quickly, you're in a world of hurt if you actually swallow one of these things.

"You would have to regurgitate the ball almost immediately to avoid injury," said Don Huber, director of product safety at Consumer Reports. "And given the physical size of the pod, it’s not something you can just vomit up easily and have it remain intact."

Diarrhea and vomiting are the most likely reactions, though it doesn't necessarily stop there. The vomiting can be so intense that your lungs could fill with fluid, making it difficult to breathe and posing a risk of respiratory arrest. On top of the that, the absorbable bits can get into your bloodstream and ultimately cause seizures, coma, and even death.