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It all started as jokes. The lure of Tide Pods, which look almost like candy, broke into satirical conversations as early as 2015 when The Onion published a column from the perspective of a child who wanted to eat a blue and red detergent pod. This followed numerous reports pods were getting into the hands of curious toddlers, which can cause serious harm.
In 2017, poison control centers received reports of more than 10,500 exposures to highly concentrated packs of laundry detergent by children 5 and younger, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
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A March 2017 video likely generated the biggest conversation about students eating pods. In College Humor's Don't Eat The Laundry Pods video, viewers see a college student tempted to eat Tide Pods. After researching how toxic the pods are, he still ends up gorging on a bowl full of pods. The video ends with the student saying he doesn't regret it on an emergency backboard. Ideas, and even dares about eating the pods followed on Reddit and Twitter.
Now, videos of teens putting Tide Pods in their mouth and even cooking with them are making the rounds online as part of the "Tide Pod Challenge."
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