New internet trend encourages teens to eat laundry pods

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New internet trend encourages teens to eat laundry pods

Photo illustration by Katie Spillman

Photo illustration by Katie Spillman

Photo illustration by Katie Spillman

Derek Isele, Staff Writer

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From crowds of people going wild for flipping a water bottle, to people being rushed to the hospital after downing a spoonful of cinnamon, the internet has spawned many strange and dangerous trends. The newest one, eating laundry pods, takes things to the next level.

“The internet has the unwritten rule that completely random stuff goes viral,” senior Joe Butler said. “People talk about doing all sorts of crazy things, and then some daredevil or jokester decides they’re going to be the first.”

Despite the knowledge that these colorful capsules are just packets of poison, many teens and adults are the ones engaging in this bizarre trend. The phenomenon started out as a joke about laundry pods looking like candy, but over time, the joke escalated.

“People are just trying to be funny,” junior Sean Gillespie said. “They don’t think about whether it’s going to hurt them or not.”

In 2017 alone, poison control dealt with 10,570 cases of laundry pods being eaten. Even if a student were to put a tide pod in their mouth as a joke, the thin film keeping the chemicals at bay is easily dissolved by saliva. Furthermore, once the chemicals have been released, the damage is already done. Inside a laundry pod is a mix of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, soap, and a few trade secrets depending on which brand you prefer. These chemicals are meant to break down dirt and dust, but when they are consumed, the chemicals break down tissue that makes up one’s gums and cheeks.  If ingested completely, the chemicals can burn through one’s stomach, intestines, and even your esophagus.

“This is serious enough that some kids have been put on ventilators, which means that the machine is breathing for them,” nurse Lois Burch said. “Another thing that happens is when you bite down, they pop, causing significant eye injury.”

In response to this, manufacturers have issued severe warnings against even putting them in your mouth, including a bizarre warning produced by Tide in which New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says the word “no” over and over.

“This trend is obviously life-threatening,” Burch said. “No one should even consider participating in it.”

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