What started out as a handful of joke videos referring to Tide Pods as food recently took a dangerous turn— when teens began to eat them for real.

The scary trend in teen “challenges” was meant as a play off of the product’s warning label, which is intended to stop small children from getting their hands on the pods and accidentally ingesting them, as Dearly previously reported.

Videos started popping up about the pods, in which they referred to the laundry product as the “forbidden fruit”— and showed people treating the pods as real food. Kids are taking on the challenge and putting themselves in harm’s way by purposely ingesting the toxic chemicals.

Dr. Karen Jenkins, medical director of the Piedmont Medical Center emergency department, told WCNC: “They don’t always have the comprehension at 13, 14, or 15 years old of lifelong consequences.”

And that damage can linger for the rest of their lives, according to Jenkins:

“They can cause chemical burns around the mouth and can cause burns inside the mouth, nausea and vomiting, you can get aspiration, pneumonia, and have breathing problems. It’s not a risk worth taking.”

Now, CNN reports the dangerous, nationwide craze — with hundreds of videos showing kids chomping on the pods — has sparked YouTube to yank the video clips down from their site.

A spokesperson for Google, which owns YouTube, said in a statement:

YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.

Fox61 reports Facebook has also purged posts featuring the stunt from both Facebook and its Instagram platform.

According to ABC News, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has already seen a jump in the number of injuries linked to laundry pods in 2018. Approximately 40 cases have already been reported “of which around half were intentionally ingested” since the start of the new year.

 

In fact, CNN reports similar frightening statistics pushed the American Association of Poison Control Centers to issue this alert:

A recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets — and uploading videos to various internet platforms including video-sharing websites, social media, and vlogging platforms — has caused significant concern among poison control centers.

Procter & Gamble, Tide’s parent company, told CNN in a statement that “nothing is more important to us than the safety of people who use our products.”

P&G is hoping kids and teens will listen to NFL star Rob Gronkowski, whom they brought in to help to quash the “Tide Pod Challenge.”

KTLA reports the New England Patriots player appears in a now-viral Tide video urging teens to stop.

What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.

Eating a Tide POD is a BAD IDEA, and we asked our friend @robgronkowski to help explain. pic.twitter.com/0JnFdhnsWZ

Gronkowski asks:

“What the heck is going on, people? Use Tide Pods for washing. Not eating.”

CNN reports the P&G statement continued:

We are deeply concerned about conversations related to intentional and improper use of liquid laundry pacs and have been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies.

The American Association of Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, by calling 1-800-222-1222, if you or someone you know has ingested a poisonous substance.

Watch more on the dangerous craze below:

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Teens Are Eating So Many Tide Pods That YouTube Is Removing the ‘Challenge’ Videos

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