Dear reader, it appears the teens are at it again. ABC News reports the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Procter & Gamble are asking young people to please not put Tide Pods in their mouths "even if meant as a joke." And Tide even enlisted an NFL player to warn teens not to purposefully ingest its laundry detergent, according to USA Today. "What the heck is going on, people?" the New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski pleads in the video. "Use Tide Pods for washing. Not eating. Do not eat."
The "Tide Pod Challenge," in which teens are apparently filmed putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths, seems made up—too dumb for even the most YouTube-addled youth. But Snopes says it checks out. And New York reports what what started as "a long-running internet joke" has, years later, "reached something of a fever pitch." Nineteen-year-old Marc Pagan tells CBS News he took part in the Tide Pod Challenge on a dare. "A lot of people were just saying how stupid I was," he says. Ann Marie Buerkle with the CPSC says the internet joke has "gone too far." “Teens trying to be funny are now putting themselves in danger by ingesting this dangerous substance,” she says. Tide Pods are highly toxic—and potentially fatal. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says it has already had about 40 cases related to laundry pods, "of which around half were intentionally ingested," in 2018. So, kids, please listen to Gronk and stop eating detergent.