Olin, Sparrow have not seen cases of Tide pod consumption
In the recent weeks, a new trend has caught the internet by storm — eating Tide pods. The internet has been full of pictures of the pods in recipes and jokes about consuming. Some people have recorded videos while biting into them and then posted it to the internet.
A Tide pod is a laundry packet that contains laundry detergent. Users throw the pod in with laundry rather than pouring detergent into the machine.
“I talked to a couple of our ED doctors and they are not familiar with cases, and honestly they don’t know a heck of a lot about it other than they have read about it on the internet," John Foren, director of media and public relations at Sparrow Hospital, said. "I talked to one of our adult emergency department people, and then one of our pediatric people and both said, 'we really haven’t seen that.' They are kind of vaguely familiar with it, but that’s about it.”
MSU's Olin Health Center told the same story of not seeing any cases, but did comment on what would happen medically if a Tide pod were consumed.
“Detergent is poisonous," marketing and communications director of Student Health Services Kathi Braunlich said via email. "If a packet is bitten into and the detergent splashes in the eye it could burn the eye, potentially causing blindness. If swallowed, it could burn the mouth, tongue, esophagus, and/or lungs. The body may react by vomiting it back up. It can cause breathing to slow, diarrhea, and severe burns. There have been deaths reported, primarily among babies and small children. If it gets on the hands, eyes, or clothing, it should be rinsed thoroughly with water."
Braunlich also said if a Tide pod is swallowed, the person should immediately drink a glass of milk or water and try not to vomit. The next step is to call Poison Control.
One student, though, kinesiology freshman Lauren Lavercombe, has a friend who ate a Tide pod.
“She did it for a video on her Instagram and she put it in her mouth, bit it and it exploded," Lavercombe said. "Then she spit it all out and she said that she had that taste in her mouth for a day and a half.”
As a rebuttal to people eating the Tide pods, spokesperson Petra Renck from Tide's parent company, Procter and Gamble, said nothing is more important to the company than the safety of the people who use the products.
"We are deeply concerned about the intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs by young people engaging in intentional self-harm challenges," Renck said via email.
Preventative efforts include working with social media networks to remove content that encourages harmful behavior, distributing a safety message that relates to young people. Other efforts include working with the American Cleaning Institute to inform and provide assets to post-secondary education institutions to educate students that laundry detergents should only be used to clean clothes, and engaging with people on social media to communicate the proper use of Tide pods.
"They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely,” Renck said.