Tide Pod Epidemic

Shane Bassett, Ranger Review Editor

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Special challenges on the internet are nothing new; it began with the “cinnamon challenge”, which was an infamous dare to attempt to consume a spoonful of cinnamon which posed a choking hazard and even death. Then a new challenge, known as the “Salt & Ice challenge” had surfaced on the internet; it dared those who attempted to pour salt into their hands, place ice on top of the salt, and squeeze the two together. The results are a burning sensation and if done long enough would cause temporary or permanent scarring. Now the internet challenges have reached a whole new level thanks to the “Tide Pod Challenge”.

It is unclear as to when the dangerous challenge emerged but it has taken the internet by storm. It first started as a joke with people making memes about them and even baking a pizza with using them as pizza toppings. It doesn’t end there because some have inserted the detergent pods into their mouths and proceed to chew on them. Those who are are just slightly intelligent spit it out but those who are foolish and daring have fully consumed the pods.

These detergent pods contain chemicals that can be harmful upon consumption and can poison an individual and potentially cause death. One of the chemicals present in Tide Pods is 1,4 Dioxane. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to this chemical can cause eye irritation, kidney problems, lung damage, and other long term damages.

Since the beginning of the meme uprising, there has been a huge spike in calls to poison control centers and based on the Washington Post, there have been above 37 reported cases of teenagers being rushed to hospitals for the ingestion of the Tide Pods.

Tide has been reaching out since the epidemic began to warn those that may attempt the challenge that their detergent pods are not for eating and should only be used to make fresh, clean clothes. They have posted such warnings on their social media and have even partnered up with NFL football player Robert Gronkowski, a tight end for the New England Patriots, making a video to frown upon the idea of taking on the challenge. The 21 second video has spread over social media and has seen air time on television networks.

With the widespread epidemic, stores across the country have increased the measures of purchasing Tide Pods. Detergent pods in a majority of stores have locked them behind cases and now require those who wish to obtain them to show ID to prove they are at or above the age of 18. Now the popular video viewing website Youtube, one of the places where the challenge started, has began to take measures in order to prevent it from spreading any further. If content is uploaded to the site that shows anyone inserting the pod into their mouths will be removed and the publisher of the video will receive a community guidelines strike.

The counters towards the unnecessarily popular “Tide Pod Challenge” from stores nationwide and Google’s Youtube shows how strong of an influence the internet has on society. A simple trend in a few forums on a website can easily spread and influence people to do anything. If this kind of recklessness continues, it is definitely questionable how much longer the human race will last.