Put an End to the Tide Pod Challenge

Hello all,

Throughout this semester, we will undoubtedly investigate child and youth hunger issues ranging from school cafeterias, to food deserts, to replacing unhealthy vending machines. While these are surely more detrimental and wide-spread problems for the state of Michigan, I wanted to start our discussions off with a very different issue since it is being covered by the media frequently this month.

As many of us are aware, kids and teenagers alike have been partaking in the "Tide Pod Challenge" where they record themselves eating or biting into laundry detergent pouches. Many of these challenges are recorded and posted on YouTube, Reddit, and LiveLeak. As can be expected, this challenge has serious risks to it. As the MLive article linked below explains, ingesting even small amounts of this detergent can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

Image result for tide pod challenge

In the first 15 days of 2018 alone, poison control dealt with 39 cases of intentional detergent consumption. This can be compared with the total amount of cases from 2016, which added up to 39 in the United States. YouTube has since been taking down these videos in hopes to stop the trend from spreading, but the videos and buzz around the challenge has perpetuated it.

While funny and clearly stupid, this challenge raises several questions about teens' behavior. In your responses to this issue, please consider these questions among others:

  • How can we put an end to this issue?
  • How do we ensure that other dangerous eating challenges do not get started online?
  • Is it the state of Michigan's responsibility to step in and take action? If so, what can it do?
  • Would it be necessary to ban the use of Tide Pods?
  • Should Michigan grocery stores and supermarkets continue to stock Tide pods?
  • Should Michigan allocate more resources to a poison control system in order to combat the harmful effects of this type of consumption?

Sources: http://www.mlive.com/news/us-world/index.ssf/2018/01/poison_control_centers_report.html