The Forbidden Fruit

By Vu Nam Phan


“Now this is podracing!”, the famous chant of the “Tide Pod Challenge”.

January of 2018 marked creeping up of poison control calls as young adolescence consume the lethal “Forbidden Fruit” known as Tide Pods. Tide Pods: laundry detergents to use in washing machines. The start of 2018 has brought the absurd “Tide Pod Challenge” into the limelight. With videos as much as 3.2 million views on Youtube, we can see the extent that this challenge has grown to. Despite the many deadly consequences, many still attempt this pathetic challenge. Well, if you don’t know already, you should never be eating a dreaded Tide Pod.



What is a Tide Pod?

Tide Pods are tiny packages of detergent that are highly concentrated solutions of hazardous chemicals, used in washing machines to wash articles of clothing.

What many fail to see is the devastating consequences of this so called “challenge” has on the human body. When consumed, these miniature packets of poison can cause vomiting, gasping, sleepiness, breathing issues, eye damage, fluid in lungs, coma and even death.5

According to the The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ingredients found inside are especially poisonous as seen by the use of 1, 4 Dioxane, which can cause the following: eye irritation, nose irritation and severe kidney issues.3 Children are most at risk, as in their eyes, Tide Pods are the new M&Ms on the candy aisle.

In the first 2 weeks of 2018, the American Association of Poison Control Centers claimed to have received 153 calls regarding teenagers consuming laundry pods. The gigantic leap from  53 total calls in the entire year of 2017 to 153 in 2018 is unimaginable.4

Even Stephen Kaminski, the  CEO of American Association of Poison Control Centers, has commented on the recent growth of laundry pod-related calls, “We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded.”4

Would you eat a laundry detergent? The obvious answer is no, yet many millennials attempt to do so.

These actions are caused largely due to the tremendous impact social media stars have on naive and vulnerable millennials. Once they see their favorite “Youtuber” challenging themselves, such as Logan Paul on Twitter, they too want to join the Tide Pod bandwagon.

This ludicrous challenge is very similar to the “Drink Bleach” meme from the late 2000’s, as both challenge their audiences to commit suicide. However, a difference between the two challenges is the skyrocketing growth of the “Tide Pod Challenge” at the start of 2018, compared to the decade-long growth of the “Drink Bleach” meme.

For the sake of humanity, we as a human race must not attempt the godforsaken “Tide Pod Challenge”. These packets are known as “Forbidden Fruits” for a reason and one reason only, you aren’t supposed to eat them. Yet, the curiosity and interest has only dramatically grown as more and more participate in these viral and mindless challenges.2 However, not many think of the negative consequences that Tide Pods have. These pods are the reason why so many families in the US are left heartbroken, divided and distressed as so many have suffered from this meme. Children have suffered and died due to the growing popularity of the “Tide Pod Challenge”, yet curiosity have caused more and more to venture closer and closer towards the challenge.

If you saw your friend eating a Tide Pod, would you sit and watch or stop them? Would you watch and laugh as they leap towards death? Would you let them compete in this “podrace”?

Works Cited:

  1. Chokshi, Niraj. “Yes, People Really Are Eating Tide Pods. No, It’s Not Safe.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2018,
  2. “Doctors Warn Against Attempting ‘Tide Pod Challenge’.” International Business Times [U.S. ed.], 12 Jan. 2018. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.
  3. “‘Do not eat’: Teens warned against taking ‘Tide pod challenge’.” The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 Jan. 2018. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.
  4. Klepper, David. “Lawmakers Seek Safer Packaging for Laundry Pods .” Daily Freeman, 7 Feb. 2018.
  5. “Poison control calls ‘spike’ due to online laundry pod challenge.” CNN Wire, 17 Jan. 2018. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.

2 thoughts on “The Forbidden Fruit

  1. Yasi

    Wow, Vu Nam! I love your article so much, as it comments on the stupidity and blindness that so many jump towards, just to join “trends”. Your diction is very good, and I thought your use of a modern, very prevalent issue to voice your thoughts was well thought out, and well written.

  2. Grace Yong

    Vu Nam, I loved reading your editorial! It’s crazy knowing that kids these days are doing these kind of things and risking their own health. Challenges created from the media are really getting out of hand these days and I think your editorial did a good job spreading awareness and criticizing society’s idiocy!

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