BY Tyler Medeiros
Throughout the years there have been many dangerous fads that have injured or killed the people who participated in them. The Tide Pod challenge is the current fad of 2018 and we have already seen about 40 cases of people ingesting the detergent pod in Canada.
In 2016 anonymous users online started posting jokes about Tide Pods looking like Fruit Gushers, the children’s snack. However, it wasn’t until late 2017 that people actually took the joke one step further and started to eat them.
Tide Pods include ingredients that are toxic when ingested. These substances include hydrogen peroxide, ethanol and polymers. Ingesting them can cause coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and drowsiness.
“Children and adults need to be aware that eating one of these pods can leave lasting effects like breathing problems and a decrease in stomach bacteria that could affect them for many years,” said Dr. Elionora Sofronova, a family physician at the Boardwalk Medical Centre in Waterloo.
There have always been dangerous trends that have involved putting things in your mouth but most of those fads involved substances that were at least edible.
“I remember the cinnamon challenge where kids would take a spoonful of cinnamon and try to eat it. It was still dangerous but at least it was something people could eat without poisoning themselves,” Sofronova said.
Many people are now asking questions about why adults and children are doing this. Most people think it has to be a joke.
Counsellor Daniel Rzondzinski of KW Counselling Services said, “In my opinion, it comes from the need to fit in or the need to have attention. By participating in this challenge, they are showing their peers that they are in on the newest and coolest sensations that are going around. On the other hand, people who are brushed off or even those who are adventure seekers want to show off and have their five minutes of fame.”
He added, “People often struggle to find their own path in life and are sucked into things by peer pressure. At a younger age, people are also more concerned with their physical image but also their social image. I think many of them do these kinds of challenges because they think it will boost their social image and make others think that they are cool or brave.”
Dangerous fads have been around for many years and show no signs of going away. If you know of someone ingesting or who has indicated they might ingest a laundry detergent packet you should urge them not to.
If someone you know has eaten one of these packets you should call your local poison control centre at 1-800-268-9017 or if they are having trouble breathing, call 911.