Procter & Gamble says it’s working to stop a social media-fuelled trend called the Tide Pod challenge, which involves teenagers eating single-load laundry detergent packets.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers warned last week that it had seen a spike in teenagers eating the detergent pods, which it says can cause seizures, respiratory arrest and even death.
CEO David Taylor called the trend “dangerous” and “extremely concerning” in a blog post Monday. He said the company is working with social media companies to remove videos of people biting into the detergent, and asked adults to speak with children about the hazards.
“Let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes,” Taylor said.
Tide detergent pods line the shelves of a Safeway store in Wheaton, Md., in 2015.(Gary Cameron/Reuters)
In the first 15 days of the year, poison control centres said they have handled 39 cases of intentional misuse among youth 13 to 19 years old. Poison control centres handled 53 such cases all of last year.
The pods have generally been hit for Procter & Gamble Co., which also makes Crest toothpaste and Charmin toilet paper. The company posted quarterly revenue Tuesday of $ 17.4 billion US and fiscal second-quarter net income of $ 2.5 billion US. Its results topped Wall Street expectations.
P&G has faced safety issues with Tide Pods before.
Shortly after the product was introduced in 2012, the company announced it would create a double-latch lid to deter young children from accessing and eating the detergent packets. Some children mistook the brightly coloured 1-inch pods for candy.
To deter teenagers, P&G released a 20-second video of NFL football player Rob Gronkowski earlier this month telling viewers not to ingest the pods.
“What the heck is going on people?” he said in the video. “Use Tide Pods for washing, not eating.”
A New York City pizzeria even launched Pied Pods because of the trend, offering rolls stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and topped with dyed cheese made to look like a detergent pod.