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January 22, 2018 10:05 PM

Real or Fake: Stores Locking Up Tide Pods In Response To Social Media Challenge

You've probably heard about the latest social media fad-- the Tide Pod Challenge-- where teenagers are putting the colorful detergent in their mouths. 

Poison Control Centers across the nation reported 39 cases of teenagers eating laundry pods deliberately in the first 15 days of 2018 alone.

YouTube is pulling videos down of teens taking the challenge. Is it also causing major retailers to lock up laundry detergent?

KELOLAND Investigates looks into whether that is a “real or fake” reaction to the Tide Pod Challenge.

It's not only disgusting, but ingesting a laundry pod is downright dangerous.  

Ingredients in the pods include ethanol, hydrogen peroxide and polymers – a highly-toxic mix of detergent. 

It's real that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has come out with some harsh warnings about these online antics. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is putting out warnings like this on Twitter: Laundry pods are not a snack. Don't eat poison.  

Tide has put out an ad on its social media pages featuring New England Patriots Player Rob Gronkowski. 

"Use Tide Pods for washing, not eating," Gronkowski said.

But does the teenage social media craze also have retailers locking up laundry detergent?

That story has been widely reported across the country.

We checked and it turns out that's fake. 

Walgreens and Walmart say while some stores may be locking up laundry pods, it has nothing to do with teens putting them in their mouths as part of a social media stunt. 
Detergents are high-theft items and often sold on the black market.

Walgreens says it doesn't publicize security measures it uses in various cities. But it does tell KELOLAND Investigates that, "many of our stores have had additional security measures in place for certain detergent products for a number of years... to help prevent theft" and were "unrelated to more recent reports of misuse of the products." 

Walmart tells KELOLAND Investigates: "The decision about which items are subject to additional in-store security is made on a store-by-store basis and often at the discretion of the store manager."

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