Illustration of inflamed lungs


Harrowing video details what happened to boy who ate Tide Pods

This is hard to watch.


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Published Jan 30, 2018   Updated May 22, 2021, 2:47 am CDT

Welcome to day 642 of the Tide Pod Challenge. After many, many warnings about what ingesting a concentrated packet of laundry detergent can do to a human body, we hope that teens finally give up this “challenge.” But for anyone who still believes that they are invincible and can somehow overcome swallowing laundry detergent—or for anyone who is simply interested in how a body reacts to the chemicals in Tide Pods—there’s a video for you. It’s called “A Boy Ate 3 Laundry Pods. This is What Happened to His Lungs.”

The video was posted to the YouTube channel Chubbyemu, which tells stories based on real medical cases. The case of the boy in America who ingested three Tide Pods this month, referred to as JR, is narrated in graphic detail. It also reads as a really sad story about the lengths people will go to gain a following on the internet:

He was going to, as he told his friends, “experience the greatness of laundry pod flavor” and become internet famous. Immediately, after putting three pods in his mouth, he could feel a slight burning sensation waft up into his nose. Huddled over the sink, JR was prepared to spit out the detergent as soon as he started biting. But as he chewed down on the pods, piercing into the vinyl plastic, laundry detergent poured into his mouth. He was suddenly overcome by a severe burning, numbing sensation on his tongue…in his coughing fit, he aspirated some of the detergent into his trachea, corroding the tissue, compromising part of his airway as the liquid began to drip and ooze into his bronchi.

The video even went into detail on how JR’s mother found him:

His mother, Jane, hears the commotion and rushes to him. She sees him vomiting his gastric contents, which come out with green and blue laundry detergent as he begins foaming at the mouth. As he collapses, he grips his chest out in pain as he feels the detergent set fire to his esophagus, down into his stomach. As he struggles to breathe and is panicked, his lips begin to cyanose or turn blue. Confused and unaware as to what just happened, Jane looks around and sees the plastic wrapping of the laundry pods that JR spit out of his mouth.

Luckily, JR recovered from his injuries after time in an ICU.

As on Tuesday afternoon, the video had amassed over 1 million views on YouTube and thousands of comments on a Reddit post linking to it. The commenters remarked how uncomfortable watching the video was and how they hope it will scare kids into not intentionally harming themselves for a meme in the future. We hope so, too.

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2018, 1:52 pm CST