The REAL Tide Pod Challenge

Social media challenges are fertilizer for stupid decisions. Take, for example, Parkour…

and Planking…

which seems kooky and harmless… until somebody gets hurt. And then it’s not.

There’s the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge.

And the newest and most idiotic social media challenge taking the inter webs by storm: The Tide Pod Challenge.

Evidently, the bizarre phenomenon of people posting videos of themselves feasting on Tide Pods and inviting others to do the same started circa 2016, but most of us only began hearing about it late last year. Despite dire warnings from Procter & Gamble as well as doctors and poison control officials, people (mostly teenagers and college students) are still eating Tide Pods. In fact, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 86 cases of intentional exposure to laundry detergent in the first three weeks of this year alone, which is roughly the same number of cases in 2016 and 2017 combined. The agency made the following official statement, “We cannot stress enough how dangerous this is to the health of individuals—it can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death,” and still kids are eating Tide Pods. 

Houston, we have a problem.

When my kids went off to college, I sent a Costco-sized supply of Tide Pods along with each of them. I figured the pre-measured doses of detergent would make doing laundry easier (TRANSLATION: less laundry for me over holiday breaks.) The idea, however, that they might actually be tempted to ingest the pods never entered my mind. Trust me, I worry about lots of things. In fact I’m pretty sure I worried about all the things parents of college students worry about plus some, but I never worried about my kids eating Tide Pods and do you want to know why? I repeat DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY?  Because THEY ARE NOT MORONS. Or maybe it’s because the challenge I issued went something like this:

  1. Sort your dirty laundry into two piles: one of white clothes and one of everything else, also know as dark clothes.
  2. Put the dark clothes in the washing machine.
  3. Toss in a Tide Pod.
  4. Turn on the washing machine.
  5. When the wash cycle ends, remove the clean, wet clothes and put them in the dryer.
  6. When the dry cycle ends, remove the clean, dry clothes, hang them in your closet or fold them and put them in your drawers.
  7. Repeat 1-6 for white clothes, except to add bleach with the Tide Pod in step 3.

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Spread the word. Take the REAL Tide Pod Challenge. Do some laundry.


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