A government watchdog fears a startling new internet challenge could be putting America’s teens at risk.
Dubbed the “Tide Pod Challenge,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the trend has teenagers eating a toxic mix of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and polymers.
The pods have been the focus of fears before for younger children, who may mistake the colorful items for candy.
The so-called “Tide Pod Challenge,” in which participants put the packs in their mouths and pose for a photo, appears to be a play on those fears.
“This is what started out as a joke on the internet and now it’s just gone too far,” Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of the commission, told CBS News.
In a statement, Tide manufacturer Procter & Gamble said: “They should not be played with… even if meant as a joke. Safety is no laughing matter.”
The popularity of laundry pods has come with an uptick in accidental poisonings of young children and even adults with dementia.
Buerkle’s group has worked with manufacturers to make the packets less attractive to children and their contents less toxic.