A student at a Penticton middle school had some Tide PODS confiscated after school officials believed he was trying to entice others to take the Tide Pod Challenge of biting down on the detergent caps. Austin Kirk/Special to the Western News

Tide PODS confiscated from Okanagan middle school student

A student at a Penticton middle school had Tide PODS confiscated

It appears students of at least one Okanagan middle school are smart enough not to take the Tide POD Challenge.

According to Wendy Hyer, Penticton School District superintendent, it’s not believed any of the children at the unnamed school bit into the detergent capsules brought by a male student last week.

“The Tide POD Challenge has been on the internet for the past couple of months and he (student) brought some Tide PODS to school in the morning, trying to fit in with his peers, trying to see if anybody wanted to participate,” said Hyer Tuesday. “The peer group let the principal know and so the principal confiscated the Tide PODS. It was a young immature student and nobody had taken the challenge.

“The principal contacted the parents and met with all the teachers and they let their classes know how dangerous such an activity or event would be to their health.”

She added it was the only reported incident of its type in the school district to date.

Related: B.C. expert weighs in on why kids are eating Tide PODS for fun

The dangerous, potentially life-threatening fad as been growing in popularity with video posts of the activity surfacing on social media in Canada and the United States where it is thought to have started.

There have been a number of incidents involving young children accidentally ingesting the often colourful, dissolving laundry pacs and the manufacturers have taken steps, including child-resistant containers, to prevent similar accidents.

Hyer believes the message of the dangers of biting into the pods is getting through.

“When I chatted with my high school principals they said high school students are very aware of the challenge and they all think it’s stupid,” she said. “The chemicals in a Tide POD can burn your lips, their caustic, they can cause neurological damage.”

The highly-concentrated packets of detergent, candy or toy-like in appearance, have a strong chemical base and can reportedly cause destructive burns to the esophagus or airway, leading to breathing problems. There is the added danger of getting the irritant material in the eyes.

Among the ingredients is hydrogen peroxide which is one of the most common bleaching agents, along with ethanol.

Symptoms of detergent poisoning can include vomiting, drowsiness, coughing, seizures and unconsciousness.

Another ingredient, Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS) can also cause liver and kidney damage.

The detergent packets first appeared on the market around 2010 and the maker, The Proctor and Gamble Company, has since put set up this web site: https://tide.com/en-us/safety about product handling.

Along with young, children those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia are also at risk and a number of people have died in the United States after eating them.

The B.C. Drug and Poison Information Centre (1-800-567-8911) offers a 24-hour telephone information service which provides immediate information about the effects of drugs and poisons and treatment to health care providers and the general public.

A toll-free number is staffed by nurses, pharmacists and physicians. The website is www.dpic.org.

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