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Warning over alarming ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ detergent eating YouTube trend

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An alarming new trend involving teenagers eating detergent capsules and posting the videos on YouTube could  “put them in danger”, health officials have warned.  

The concerning ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ phenomenon has spread across social media since the turn of the year.

Teenagers have filmed themselves biting into Tide laundry detergent capsules, with some of the videos racking up more than 100,000 hits before being removed by YouTube.

The first mention of the ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ on YouTube dates back to June 2014, while parody website The Onion followed this up with a satirical op-ed about the pods in 2015.

A video by CollegeHumor titled ‘Don’t Eat the Laundry Pods’ posted in March 2017 has been viewed more than three million times and towards the end of last year it spread into a popular meme.

There has been a spike in the number of cases of detergent pod ingestion in the first two weeks of 2018 reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

Health officials have warned the capsules contain “highly concentrated toxic contents” which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and in worst case scenarios, breathing difficulties.

“Teens trying to be funny are now putting themselves in danger by ingesting this poisonous substance,” Ann Marie Buerkle, from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, told Good Morning America.

Some YouTube creators say their videos about the Tide Pod Challenge have been removed for violating the platform’s rules.

“Why did my video on kids doing the ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ get taken down and striked when there are millions of compilations of kids eating them?” questioned user Niksfinity.

A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, Tide’s parent company, said: “Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes, and they’re used safely in millions of households every day.

“They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children.

“They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke.”

Eight deaths as a result of eating detergent pods were reported from 2012 to early 2017 in the US, involving six adults suffering from dementia and two children.

In 2013, a seven-month-old boy from Florida died after biting into a laundry pod.

Members of the public seeking specific information on poisons should contact the NHS 111 service or call 999 if a person is showing signs of being seriously ill.

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