What you need to know:
Laundry detergent pods, common household cleaning products filled with high concentrations of chemicals, have been making recent news because of a popular, but dangerous video dare among teens known as the “Tide Pod Challenge”. In this dare, participants eat the pod and share the video on social media, daring other teens to take the challenge. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports 140 teens have intentionally ingested laundry detergent pods since January 1, 2018. This number has increased significantly over data from 2017, when only 53 cases of intentional ingestion among teens were reported to the AAPCC the entire year.
Aspiration, or caustic ingestion from the pod may lead to oral and esophageal burns. Scarring from esophageal burns may lead to long-term impaired swallowing and an increased risk for choking. Additional problems include difficulty breathing, alterations in blood pressure and heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death.
ACM Resources to help you learn more:
“Caustic Ingestions” in Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8e
"Toxicological Conditions" in The Atlas of Emergency Medicine, 4e
“Specific Poisons and Drugs: Diagnosis and Treatment” in Poisoning & Drug Overdose, 7e