UK health experts warn parents of dangerous new teenage social media ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ trend

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  • Health experts in the UK have issued a warning to parents about a new dangerous trend among teenagers, called ‘Tide Pod Challenge’, which sees them eating laundry detergent capsules.

    Fears over the new craze started in the US, but now health experts here warned that it could harm youngsters in the UK.

    The ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ sees teenagers eating capsules of detergent and posting footage on YouTube while urging others to follow suit.

    It’s been reported that some of the clips amassed up to 100,000 views before being removed from the video-sharing platform.

    Clearly keen to put an end to the fad, stateside laundry brand Tide posted a message about it on their official Twitter page.

    ‘What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else’, they said.

    Sheila Merrill, public health advisor at the British charity Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), has released a statement to let parents here know about the dangers of the trend.

    ‘We are disappointed to see this irresponsible new craze emerging, as ingestion of liquid laundry capsules can lead to serious injury and in some cases long term internal damage.

    ‘The liquid could also be squirted into the eyes, which again can lead to serious injury. Liquid laundry capsules are filled with a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes, used safely in millions of households every day,’ she said.

    Shelia goes on to offer advice on how parents should store their boxes of detergent.

    ‘The containers should be kept up, closed and away from children and should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if it is meant as a joke.

    ‘At a time when the health services are under huge pressure dealing with serious health and injury cases, we would hope that people will not selfishly add to this by causing injury to themselves by taking part in this silly new fad.’

    Although not related to the Tide Pod Challenge, eight deaths as a result of digesting detergent were reported in America between 2012 and 2017.

    Worryingly, this isn’t the first dangerous trend to have gained traction amongst teenagers. The Cinnamon Challenge – which encourage teens to eat a spoonful in under 60 seconds – went viral a few years ago. Inhalation of the spice can seriously damage the lungs by causing inflammation.