Doctor warns kids about dangers of Tide Pod Challenge

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THE BRONX -

The latest internet trend of young people eating laundry detergent has doctors warning of serious side effects.

It's called the "Tide Pod Challenge," and like the name suggests, it involves eating a Tide detergent pod. Teens hope their videos of the challenge will go viral. Many have.

"This is not like eating something too spicy, this is something that is going to put a hole in a very bad place," says Dr. Howard Greller at St. Barnabas Hospital. "You would think that they're just soap. Some of them contain things that result in chemical burns to the eyes, to the mouth."

The American Association of Poison Control Centers says there were 12,299 reported cases of ingested laundry pods in 2017 -- and reports indicate a spike to start the new year.

For its part, Tide has begun a campaign urging the use of its products only for their intended purpose. The company even recruited NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski to warn teens of health risks.

Dr. Greller says that people who do ingest laundry detergent should flush with copious amounts of water and contact a poison control center.

"Eat candy, not pods," he says.

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