Morning Rounds: “Tide Pod Challenge” could lead to cancer

Posted at 1:26 PM, Feb 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-13 13:26:15-05

NORFOLK, Va - The dangerous "Tide Pod Challenge" on social media can cause serious health problems in the long run.

"We do know that exposing the gastrointestinal tract to caustic influence causes cellular change," said Dr. Ryan Light on News 3 This Morning.  "We could therefore hypothesize that damage to the gastrointestinal system could make you more susceptible to cancer."

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a recent trend among teenagers ingesting the packets and uploading the videos has caused significant concern.  An AAPCC alert said there have been 168 documented cases of intentional exposure to the laundry pods in 2018.

Immediate complications from ingesting the laundry pods include seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death.

"The long-term complications are usually burns of the esophagus leading to esophageal strictures (scar tissue in the esophagus affecting one's ability to swallow) which can be problematic for a long time" explained Dr. Light.  "Another problem that occurs is damage to the lungs, leading to symptoms similar to COPD."

Dr. Light said people who ingest the detergent pods should seek medical attention immediately.