Tide denies plan to discontinue liquid packets despite risky 'pod challenge'

“Pods are used safely by millions of households," the brand tweeted.

ByABC News
January 23, 2018, 7:20 AM

— -- The maker of Tide liquid laundry packets denied suggestions that it will discontinue the product because of the dangerous online “Pods Challenge” in which participants record themselves with the item in their mouths.

“It's a complete hoax,” the Proctor & Gamble brand tweeted just before midnight in response to a “Mr Bleach,” who asked whether it was true that the company would stop selling the item after Feb. 1.

“Pods are used safely by millions of households across the country every day,” the company response continued, after several other Twitter users had also asked the question. “We will continue to offer liquid laundry packets, together with other detergent forms.”

Doctors have issued warnings about ingesting the detergent, saying it contains ingredients that could lead to critical injuries. Some challenge participants have been seen foaming at the mouth or coughing frantically after consuming them.

“They contain dangerous chemicals that, if ingested, can lead to life-threatening breathing problems, damage to the esophagus from the corrosive ingredients, burns, blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal problems and neurological symptoms, including loss of consciousness,” Dr. Sarang Koushik, a resident in ABC News' medical unit, said this week.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) also issued a warning about the “laundry packet challenge.”

In a statement released last Tuesday, the association said it was aware of at least 39 cases where people between the ages of 13 and 19 had deliberately consumed detergent pods in the first 15 days of the new year. That compares with 53 cases reported for all of 2017, according to the AAPCC.

It did not single out Tide in its statement but said warned against “potential poison exposure to single-load laundry packets."

The Internet craze has also caught the attention of Procter & Gamble, Tide’s manufacturer, which recently launched a campaign to warn consumers that “eating a Tide Pod is a bad idea.”

“As a father, seeing recent examples of young people intentionally take part in self-harming challenges like ingesting large amounts of cinnamon or the so-called ‘Tide Pods Challenge’ is extremely concerning,” Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor wrote in a statement Monday. ”Let’s all take a moment to talk with the young people in our lives and let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes.

“Please help them understand that this is no laughing matter,” he added.

Taylor said the company has taken a number of measures to stop the dangerous trend and promised to remove videos that glorified the challenge from is social media networks.

It also tapped New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to star in a new public service announcement to remind consumers that Tide Pods ”should only be used for laundry!”