Doctors warn teens not to eat laundry detergent pods for new internet challenge

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It's the latest social media challenge that comes with some dangerous risks: participants recording themselves eating Tide laundry pods after social media memes compared the cleaning product to food.

A quick YouTube search returns a thread of videos showing people eating the pods and gagging.

"I think it's kind of foolish because, No. 1, I think most of the problem comes from the coating itself. If you look at data for liquid soap ingestion, just liquid soap ingestion by itself doesn't cause too many problems," Dr. Joe Krug of St. Vincent Health told WXIN.

Krug said eating the pods can cause "burns to the skin, burns to the eye, a lot of problems that are more severe burns to the respiratory tract, burns to the esophagus."

Tide's parent company, Procter and Gamble, emailed WXIN a statement on the trend:

"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. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke,”

In recent years, the company even made the pod containers more childproof after reports of children mistaking them for candy and eating them unknowingly.

Krug said once you eat it, the damage is done.

"There's nothing you can do once you ingested the issue or the substance, so it's more of supporting whatever symptoms they have afterward and then hopefully educating them about trying to do more intelligent things in the future," he said.