Back to the Future depicts 2015 as a time where flying cars and hoverboards exist. Now it’s 2018 and we’re warning people not to eat detergent because it can literally kill you.
The “tide pods are food” meme has taken off in a big, dangerous way. People, mainly teenagers, are regularly uploading videos of themselves eating the detergent to Youtube under the title “Tide Pod Challenge”. Tide and Youtube are desperately struggling to stop people from doing it.
People are even reviewing them on Amazon as if they’re food, giving them five stars and calling them “delicious”.
“I’ve been using these for years as a flavor enhancer for my water,” another reviewer wrote.
“The only issue is that they have a hard time dissolving in my Yeti cup, so I’ve started extracting the liquid goo with a needle and then squirting it into my water. A couple shakes and it’s all mixed in. The flavor is incredible and curbs my appetite for the entire day! Since I’ve been drinking these I’ve lost about 75 pounds. I go through 5 or 6 pods a day though, and it gets a little pricey, but totally worth it.”
So far, so amusing.
But surely no-one is really eating these, are they? What’s the real scale of the problem?
Well, it turns out, it’s much bigger than is ideal. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has put out a warning, after receiving a high volume of calls since the beginning of 2018.
“During the past five years, poison control centers have received well over 50,000 calls relating to liquid laundry packet exposures,” the AAPCC said in a statement.
“While unintentional misuse by children five and under accounted for the majority of these calls, a recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets – and uploading videos to various internet platforms including video-sharing websites, social media, and vlogging platforms – has caused significant concern among poison control centers.
“According to AAPCC data, in 2016 and 2017, poison control centers handled 39 and 53 cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among 13 to 19-year-olds. In the first 15 days of 2018 alone, centers have already handled 39 such intentional cases among the same age demographic. Ingestion accounted for 91 percent of these reported exposures.”
You read that right – 9 out of 10 times calls to a poison helpline for ingesting detergent are from people who are doing it as a joke.
So can this meme be stopped? Well, Youtube, Tide, and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission are now trying to do just that. Last week, Tide created a video pleading with people to not eat soap.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission also felt the need to get involved, sending out several pleas on Twitter asking people to please stop eating detergent.
Youtube themselves are finally taking action too, announcing that they’ll be removing any videos of the Tide Pod Challenge.
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” the Internet giant said, according to The Guardian.
“We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
Help Youtube out, people. Stop eating things that are only meant to be ingested by a goddamn washing machine.