Stores lock up detergent pods after 'challenge' goes viral

Tide warns consumers not to dine on laundry pods

Retailers are taking action after the dangerous tide pod challenge took over social media.

Online “memes” feature photos depicting the laundry pods as a pizza topping or breakfast cereal. Videos appear to show people biting into the detergent pacs and spitting them out. 

Online users joke about how "tasty" the pods look... in some cases, even calling them the "forbidden fruit." 

Now, retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, and grocery chains like Ralph’s and Food 4 Less have locked up Tide Pods in plastic blocks or behind glass doors.

YouTube and Facebook are trying to stop the spread of the Tide Pod Challenge.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, says it's taking down clips that show people taking bites of the pods. The videos have become an online craze among teenagers, prompting widespread health and safety warnings.

"YouTube's Community Guidelines prohibit content that's intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies."

Facebook has also removed posts from its platforms, including Instagram.

Medical experts say the consequences of ingesting these products can be dire. As CNN reports, the packets can cause vomiting, throat burns and eye injuries, among other issues.

In March 2017, College Humor posted a video about eating laundry pods. The end of the video shows a guy devouring a bowl of laundry pods before he is carted off into an ambulance saying, "I don't regret it." 

A spokesperson for Tide says its laundry pacs are only meant to clean clothes. The company released the following statement:

“Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes, and they're used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children.” 

"We have seen no indication of an increase of cases seeking medical treatment amongst infants and teenagers associated with the recent uptick in social media conversation or in consumer calls.”

If you're concerned about this or other hazards, Floridians can call 1-800-222-1222 any time of day to be connected to the appropriate poison center.

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