Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
The viral challenge that involves people filming themselves biting into laundry detergent pods is causing some retailers to take security measures to prevent people from shoplifting the product, WTSP reported.
The so-called Tide Pod Challenge has prompted a warning from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which said ingesting the pods can cause them to dissolve quickly and release highly concentrated toxic contents.
Saturday, a student at Utah State University was hospitalized after ingesting a Tide Pod.
“It’s just people being stupid and misusing products,” shopper Taylor Alexander told WTSP as he browsed the aisles in a Florida Walmart.
The Tampa store where Alexander shops has put anti-theft devices on the pod containers, and has posted signed warning customers that the area is under video surveillance, WTSP reported.
In some areas of the country, the pods have been locked up, putting them in the classification of alcohol, medicines and electronics, which require a store employee to open the case to sell the product.
“Alcohol, certain medicines, we just bought medicine that we had to share ideas for. That’s reasonable. Laundry detergent, no,” Walmart customer Gina Trina told WTSP.
Officials at Walgreens said they have done the same thing for years. However, spokesman James Graham told WTSP that the safeguards for the laundry detergent pods are “unrelated to more recent reports of misuse of the products.”
Dr. Fred Aleguas, who is in charge of the Tampa Poison Control Center, says the pods were already dangerous, but that the Tide Pod Challenge has caused a spike in the number of poisoning cases.
“I think it’s a good idea, in light of the fact that we’ve had such a significant increase,” he told WTSP.