(FOX 9) - The viral ‘One Chip Challenge’ is back and making headlines for more than just social media videos this year. Several schools across the country have banned the chip after health issues caused by the challenge.
The challenge originally began in 2016 as a marketing campaign by chip company, Paqui. Participants buy a chip made specifically for the promotion, which is flavored with the Carolina Reaper pepper – considered the hottest pepper in the world. Then they film themselves to document how long they can go without eating or drinking anything for relief.
This year’s version also includes flavoring from the scorpion pepper and ingredients that cause the consumer’s tongue to turn blue. The result: thousands of widely shared (and imitated) videos of people sticking out blue tongues while struggling to adapt to the spice level of the chip.
Although the challenge debuted six years ago, this year has seen renewed interest due to the rise in popularity of TikTok and online shows like "Hot Ones."
Poison Control has a web page dedicated to the challenge, which explains the ingredient in the chips causing some consumers distress is capsaicin, a compound found naturally in chili peppers. When eaten in high concentrations, capsaicin can cause anything from mild mouth and throat pain to intestinal and throat irritation, or even, in extreme cases, heart palpitations and heart attacks — though so far, there have been no reports of children having life-threatening reactions after participating in the challenge.
According to Poison Control, the best way to seek immediate relief after eating foods that contain capsaicin is by drinking milk. The agency also recommends people wash their hands thoroughly after eating the chips to avoid spreading capsaicin to their eyes. If capsaicin gets in your eyes, the agency recommends washing them out with room temperature water for 15-20 minutes.
Anyone with severe reactions should seek help from Poison Control via this webpage or by calling 1-800-222-1222.