An unidentified student from the Utah State University had been hospitalized after ingesting a Tide Pod, in what is believed to have been inspired by an internet meme.
According to Fox News, Eric Warren, the school’s director of media relations, has said that the student’s motive for ingesting the Tide Pod is unclear at this time. That said, Warren offered the following statement for students at the school:
“For students and members of our university who are feeling overwhelmed, we have services available. There are people here to talk to you.”
The female student’s condition was not immediately available but she is believed to be receiving treatment at a local hospital.
According to FOX 13 Salt Lake City, USU Student Donald Ray Corwin released a statement over the meme:
“I look at memes every day; they can be very fun, but they can also be very harmful. I just think it’s a very present culture. In our society, it’s unfortunate that happened, but I can see it’s an evident problem.”
What is the Tide Pod meme?
What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.
— Tide (@tide) January 12, 2018
The incident notably came out shortly after doctors warned people earlier this month not to eat the pods, which are used for laundry, over health concerns. The practice of ingesting the pods seems to have origins in a social media game, “#TidePodChallenge, that involved people ingesting the pods and filming the reaction.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 39 cases of intentional exposures occurred in 2016 and an addition 53 cases came to be the following year. Many of those who ingested the pods were teenagers, from 13 to 19 years of age.
In a statement with Fox Business, a P&G spokesperson said the following:
“Each year laundry pacs have been on the market, we’ve taken meaningful steps to reduce accidental exposure. We have co-led the development of industry standard since its initiation and taken actions including adding child resistant closures to the bags and tubs and adding bittering substances to the packets to deter accidental ingestion. We’ve also worked with organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide to educate parents and caregivers on safe use and storage.”