Tide PODS: Laundry Detergent or Dangerous Snack?

Hans Janovy Meyer, staff writer

Only things that should be on today’s menu: nachos, wings and plenty of team spirit. Save your Tide PODS® for the stains later.”

This statement from Tide’s Twitter page sums up the bizarre situation modern society has found itself in when it comes to laundry detergent. Teenagers eating laundry detergent simply because it looks like a tasty treat sounds like the plot to an episode of some Disney Channel show that never made its way out of the writer’s office. Sadly, however, Tide PODS have found themselves in the middle of a controversy that no one could have ever expected. Take this as a fair warning: Tide PODS are neither delicious nor healthy to consume.

Consumer Reports cites laundry detergent pods as being in the market since the 1960s and 1970s, but it was not until the introduction of Tide PODS in 2012 that the products had widespread appeal. The “Tide POD Challenge” is an internet fad with no apparent start date, although first gained the attention of the masses in recent months. The challenge consists of teenagers taking videos of themselves biting into laundry detergent pods, often Tide PODS, and then posting videos of them committing this act online to sites like Youtube and Twitter. “During the past five years, poison control centers have received well over 50,000 calls relating to liquid laundry packet exposures. While unintentional misuse by children five and under accounted for the majority of these calls, a recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets… has caused significant concern among poison control centers,” The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) said in an official statement. This January alone, 606 children ages five and under, and 143 teenagers between 13 and 19 have reported exposure to single load laundry packets.

Rumors circulated around the internet after a fake tweet which appeared to come from Tide’s official Twitter account saying, “We regret to inform you, we will be removing Tide PODS from shelves starting February 1st. It’s been a good run but we can’t risk lives over having clean clothes.” In response to several concerned Twitter users, Tide’s official twitter account responded “It’s simply not true…Our PODS™ are safely used by millions of households across the country every day. We will continue to offer out liquid laundry packets, together with different forms of detergent.”

So to anyone thinking of ingesting one of these deceitful little pods, just don’t. They are incredibly toxic and the farthest thing from being healthy. Additionally, the consequences of the Tide POD challenge allows us to reflect upon internet trends, such as the cinnamon challenge, and the the banana and Sprite challenge, or even the Saltine challenge. Like all of those trends, the Tide POD challenge will pass, hopefully sooner rather than later.