According to Consumer Reports, some teenagers are now putting laundry pods in their mouths as part of an online dare called the “Tide Pod Challenge.” In some cases, according to videos on social media, they bite into the pods. This is actually dangerous, even potentially deadly. Placing these pods in your mouth is dangerous because of the potentially fatal dangers posed by the toxic ingredients in these pods, so it is a bad idea for anyone to intentionally ingest them.

Here are links to just a few recent news stories about this issue:

CBS News
Washington Post
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
USA Today

What’s in a Laundry Pod?

While the exact blend of ingredients in any given laundry pod is proprietary and may differ, Consumer Reports says that they generally consist of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and what chemists call “long-chain polymers.” This mix of chemicals is great for cleaning your clothes. But it’s not meant to be eaten.

What Happens When You Ingest a Pod?

A recent article from Consumer Reports states, “In their laundry-pod concentration, these three ingredients alone (never mind what else is in there that we don’t know about) have the power to burn through the lining of your mouth and stomach.” The same will happen to your esophagus, stomach and other parts of your gastrointestinal tract as the ingredients make their way through your digestive system. At the same time the contents of the pod are burning the lining of your mouth and stomach, Consumer Reports says, “…portions of the laundry pod that has made their way into your stomach and GI tract can migrate into your bloodstream and vital organs, including your brain. From there, it can be a short path to seizures, coma and eventually, death.” Therefore, don’t try to eat laundry pods and don’t put them in your mouth. You may want to tell any teenagers you know about the potentially severe negative consequences of ingesting these pods as well.