Tide Pods are clearly the biggest meme trend to come out of January 2018, and we really wish they weren’t.
As all things on the internet tend to do, it got out of hand very quickly and people began actually eating the brightly-coloured laundry detergent.
For those of you who don’t know, the Tide Pod challenge is a godawful trend in which people online dare each other to eat soap which is designed for washing your clothes, because the internet.
In the first two weeks of January alone, there were 39 cases of teens biting into the laundry detergent, as opposed to 53 cases throughout the whole of 2017.
Terrifyingly, the week after, there were 86 cases reported for 13 to 19-year-olds.
Stephen Kaminstki, CEO for the American Association of Poison Control Centers, said:
Since our first alert to this life-threatening activity, the trend of intentionally ingesting single-load laundry packets has increased in its popularity despite repeated warnings.
We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals – it can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death.
There has been a massive moral panic about the current trend, and YouTube have been very quick to pull down any videos of people trying to get on the hype.
There have always been people jumping on to daft trends online which are dangerous and stupid, but this one seems to be going wider, even for people who don’t think their sharing a meme has serious consequences.
In a company statement, Tide said:
Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes… They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if meant as a joke.
Tide themselves have been trying their hardest to dissuade people from eating the obviously poisonous capsules, because that’s something which needs to happen, obviously.
What tide pods would you guys recommend eating? I’m hungry!
— Josh Scobee (@JoshScobee10) January 25, 2018
David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble, the company who own Tide, wrote:
Ensuring the safety of the people who use our products is fundamental to everything we do at P&G.
However, even the most stringent standards and protocols, labels and warnings can’t prevent intentional abuse fuelled by poor judgment and the desire for popularity.
As P&G’s CEO, I assure you we’re working with our partners to do what we can to stop this dangerous trend, including ensuring social media networks are removing videos that glorify this harmful behaviour, partnering with advocacy and industry groups to help spread the word that this is dangerous behaviour not to be copied, and releasing this public service announcement that is designed to reach teens and young adults – in addition to other steps we’ve taken.
Let’s all take a moment to talk with the young people in our lives and let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes. Please help them understand that this is no laughing matter.
There's a 100% correlation between people who eat Tide pods and people who have never done laundry in their lifetime. Do you know how expensive those things are?!
— Rachel (@RachhLoves) January 25, 2018
It’s a sad state of affairs that we need such drastic measures to stop people literally eating a cocktail of chemicals which would kill them, but this is where we are now.
In case you were in any doubt: DO NOT EAT TIDE PODS. THEY ARE POISON.