After a bizarre meme encouraging adults to eat laundry detergent pods took the internet by storm last week, doctors and laundry detergent manufacturers are begging Americans to please stop eating laundry pods.
Laundry pods have been the subject of intense legislative debate for years, and Congress has routinely attempted to address the scourge of the colorful, pre-mixed, pre-measured detergent packets, with none other than Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leading the legislative crusade to regulate the household convenience.
But the assumption always has been that children, and not adults, were attracted to the pods, and legislative efforts have focused on placing warning labels on bags and instructing parents to keep the pods out of reach of small children who could mistake them for candy.
Last week, however, NBC News revealed that it's actually adults who have been eating the pods — many more adults have died or been disfigured from ingesting the pods than children. For those who haven't died of poisoning, injuries range from stomach discomfort to second degree esophageal burns.
Much of the problem has to do with adults, who have dementia, living on their own and mistaking the pods for food. But a statistically significant number of injuries result from intentional ingestion of laundry detergent pods spurred on by internet memes that "challenge" social media users to consume the pods and document their resulting symptoms.
According to a local Kansas NBC affiliate, "Online 'memes' feature photos depicting the laundry pods as a pizza topping or breakfast cereal. Videos posted on Twitter appear to show people biting into the detergent pacs and spitting them out."
This has led both medical professionals and Proctor & Gamble, who manufactures the most popular — and, apparently, delicious laundry detergent pack, the "Tide Pod" — to issue a stern warning to users that consuming laundry pods is harmful to your health and well-being and that laundry detergent should be used to clean clothes and not internal organs.