The Tide Pod challenge is a trend that burst into the social media world this past December, but the trend and pace at which people are being poisoned is continuing to grow. So far in January alone, poison control centers have received 134 reports of “intentional exposures” to laundry packets, Tide or others. That’s compared with 53 cases the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported for all of 2017, mostly involving teenagers.
To be clear, a Tide Pod is laundry detergent heavily concentrated into a single packet, meant to dissolve in water and clean a single load of laundry. But these days, it’s a dare — an Internet meme, in which teenagers try to eat Tide Pods as a “challenge.”
“That’s not our focus,” he said of any potential design changes for Tide Pods. “Our focus right now is educating consumers about the proper and safe use of household products,” he says. The company’s efforts include outreach to college campuses for “honest conversations” with students and a partnership with social media companies to stop the spread of the videos.
Previously, Tide Pods drew national attention — and criticism of their design — when young children became ill after putting them in their mouths. Every year, poison control centers get more than 10,000 of reports of children accidentally getting their hands on laundry packets.
The biggest difference in that situation is that the kids accidentally or mistakenly consume the pods wheras today, people are willingly eating them.