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Dangerous product: Teens and Facebook detergent-pod challenge

Social media is playing a significant role in exposing teenagers to the risk of ingesting harmful chemicals. Reportedly, teens respond to online videos showing others taking part in a Facebook challenge that involves putting detergent pods in their mouths. Parents in Ohio and elsewhere were recently warned that this dangerous product is no longer only a threat to small children who are attracted to the brightly colored squishy balls containing concentrated detergents for use in washing machines and dishwashers.

The medical director at the emergency center of ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital says if a pod should puncture in a person's mouth, even the smallest bit of ingested chemicals can cause burn wounds to the esophagus, breathing problems, nausea, sudden drop in blood pressure, vomiting and loss of consciousness. Furthermore, eye irritation could result in blindness. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, eight adults and two children have lost their lives in this manner between 2012 and the start of 2017.

While parents of young children have always been warned to keep these detergent pods out of reach, an internet search revealed a pointless, life-threatening challenge to older children. A video shows teenagers taking up the dare to put the pods in their mouths, bite down and then spit out the hazardous contents. Parents are asked to emphasize the dangers of this challenge to their older children, and they are again reminded to keep the detergent pods away from younger children.

Those in Ohio who have suffered injuries or health damage as the result of a dangerous product may pursue financial relief. However, in circumstances such as these it might be difficult to prove the manufacturers negligent as the products are not meant to be ingested. The most logical step might be for injured individuals, or the surviving family members of deceased victims, to consult with an experienced products liability attorney who can assess the circumstances to determine whether grounds exist for such a lawsuit.

Source:, "Detergent pack challenge causing serious injuries", Jeremy Schneider, Jan. 22, 2018

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