SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Teenagers are posting videos of themselves eating Tide pods in a new internet challenge sweeping the nation.
"Honestly, it's incredibly stupid," said Dr. Michael Stoiko, a pediatric physician at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. "They may as well just be picking up dog poop and eating it, and that would actually be safer for them than eating one of these pods."
If ingested, the toxic chemicals in the aftermath could put your child in the hospital.
"It doesn't take much at all. The chemical is so concentrated and so toxic," Stoiko said.
According to the Carolinas Poison Center, there have been at least eight reported cases of exposure to, or ingestion of laundry detergent over the past two months in Southeastern North Carolina. Experts say the chemicals are extremely dangerous once ingested.
"They can do the damage on the way down to the stomach and they can do equal or more damage coming back up," Stoiko explained. "Unlike a lot of other poisons where vomiting might be of some help, in this case it will worsen the damage potentially."
If you think your child has bit down on a pod, your first call should be to poison control (1-800-222-1222). The operators may ask you to have the child drink water or milk to coat the area burned by the chemicals.
According to Stoiko, swallowing even the smallest amount of chemical, even one fifth of a teaspoon, can send you to the hospital. Stoiko said NHRMC hasn't seen any cases yet, but it's only a matter of time unless there's a change.
"There has to be a growing conversation amongst teens that 'Wow that is really stupid I can't believe you did that,' so it's not cool anymore."