Laundry pod challenge hasn’t been a challenge in G-ASD

Andrea Rose and Shawn Hardy

A viral video involving teens and laundry pods has attracted attention across the nation, but has not raised red flags in the Greencastle-Antrim School District.

The Tide Pod Challenge has teens biting into the colorful laundry packets. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has released warnings via social media about the dangers of laundry pods, which contain highly concentrated, toxic ingredients.

Dr. Kendra Trail, G-A superintendent, checked with administrators and said nothing has come to their attention at the high school, the elementary school or the primary school.

The topic has been discussed by middle school professionals in small groups, but has not reached full faculty meeting status, Trail reported.

Cheryl Mowen, president of the Rescue Hose Co. and an adviser to junior members, did caution them not to try the Tide Pod Challenge during her remarks at the company’s banquet on Jan. 20.

Dr. Joseph Padasak, Chambersburg Area School District superintendent, wrote a letter to parents that says, “Due to the potentially lethal consequences of the challenge, the Chambersburg Area School District believes parents and guardians of students need to understand the serious nature of the trend.”

"Be aware that challenges like these can be intriguing to children and young people so parents please make sure you warn your children of the dangers of consuming laundry detergent pods," advised Dr. Rita Sterner-Hine, assistant superintendent of the Waynesboro Area School District.

Sterner-Hine said parents should monitor what their children are watching on social media and "seek medical attention immediately if your child engages in this challenge."

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, during the past five years, poison control centers have received well over 50,000 calls relating to liquid laundry packet exposures — most of those calls involved unintentional misuse by children 5 and under.

In 2016 and 2017, poison control centers across the nation handled 39 and 53 cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among ages 13 to 19.

But in the first 15 days of this year, poison control centers have handled 39 calls about intentional poisonings among ages 13 to 19.

“The ‘laundry packet challenge’ is neither funny nor without serious health implications,” said Stephen Kaminski, executive director of the AAPCC. “The intentional misuse of these products poses a real threat to the health of individuals. We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded.”

The health risks from misuse can be serious, including seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma and death.

“Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers of swallowing the contents of a single-load laundry packet. Only use the packets for their intended use and be sure to store them up and away,” said Kaminski. “If you or a loved one misuses a liquid laundry packet or has a question about the risk of an exposure to one, a poison control expert can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.”