Online jokes about eating laundry pods concern doctors, poison control experts


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/CNN) – A dangerous health risk is spreading through social media memes. People are making jokes online about eating laundry pods and doctors say they’ve seen cases where teens are actually following through.

The social media photos show laundry pods being used as toppings on pizza and put in a bowl and topped with bleach for breakfast. People have even posted videos of themselves biting into them.

“It’s very similar to what happened a few years ago with the cinnamon challenge,” said health toxicologist Dr. Frank LoVecchio. He believes this is far worse, “They can cause a burn to your mouth, your lips, your breathing tube, your feeding tube, your esophagus.”

LoVecchio said the throat is not the only part of your body that can be damaged, “The membrane around it, when it dissolves can cause central nervous system depression.”

Poison control experts are concerned about the fad.

“The American Association of Poison Control Centers has said this is a big risk,” said LoVecchio.

In the state of Florida, household cleaning substances were the second-leading cause of poisoning, and analgesics were the top cause in 2016, according to Florida’s Poison Control Centers.

Changes have been made since laundry pods first came on the market. The colors have changed, so they don’t look like candy. The containers are no longer see-through and the lids are more child resistant.

Even with the changes, laundry pods should be kept away from children. A Proctor and Gamble spokesperson said that if you have kids at home you should store the containers up high and out of their reach.

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