Health Check: YouTube pulls Tide Pod challenge videos

Many YouTube videos feature teenagers challenging each other to bite into Tide Pods and post videos to show it.

Many YouTube videos feature teenagers challenging each other to bite into Tide Pods and post videos to show it.

"I first heard about it from my children who sometimes watch YouTube videos and shared some of the videos on line," said Dr. Kevin Palumbo, a gastroenterologist at University Gastroenterology.

"There's been over 80 reports of actually children, or teenagers doing this Tide Pod challenge where they actually bite and chew this,” said Palumbo.

And that's just this year.

It has gotten so bad that the makers of Tide have posted a YouTube video featuring New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski.

"What the heck is going on people?” Gronkowski says in the video. “Use tide pods for washing, not eating."

But YouTube has been pulling the videos as quickly as they are posted.

"YouTube did the responsible thing," said Palumbo, adding that Tide Pods are different than standard liquid detergents and far more dangerous if ingested. "They're very concentrated chemicals -- laundry detergent -- and most of them have some combination of fabric softeners, optical brighteners and stain removers, that make them even more dangerous."

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported that ingesting the laundry detergent packets can be harmful to humans, especially children.

"Some children who have gotten the product in their mouths have had excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping," according to the organization. "Some get very sleepy. Some have had breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator to help them breathe. There have also been reports of corneal abrasions (scratches to the eyes) when the detergent gets into a child’s eyes."

A 2014 study by the National Poison Data System noted that children younger than 3 years old accounted for 73.5 percent of exposures, with more than 100 patients requiring tracheal intubations. There was also one confirmed death.

"Other serious clinical effects included coma, seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, corneal abrasion, and ocular burns," according to the report.

The AAPCC said to call 1-800-222-1222 if anyone swallows laundry detergent.

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