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Viral “One Chip Challenge” Could Pose Health Risks

An eating challenge that has gained popularity on social media is coming under fire for its potentially dangerous health impacts after a 14-year old boy in Massachusetts died.

Although his cause of death has not been confirmed, family members of Harris Wolobah claim that his participation in the viral “One Chip Challenge” had a role in his sudden death on Friday. Just hours after he was sent to his school nurse’s office with a stomachache following his consumption of the chip, they said, he was found unconscious in his home and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The “One Chip Challenge” was marketed by the chip company Paqui, and involves eating an extremely spicy tortilla chip and then waiting as long as possible before eating or drinking something for relief.

Paqui's One Chip Challenge may cause health risks.

The company advertises that the chip is made out of some of the spiciest ingredients in the world. The tortilla chip comes in an individually sealed package and is coated with a layer of Carolina Reaper pepper and Naga Viper Pepper. Chips can be purchased at local gas stations, drug stores and grocery stores, according to the company’s online store locator.

Chef Taylor Sanders competes in the Paqui Carolina Reaper Madness chip challenge on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2017.
Harris Wolobah

A spokesperson for Paqui, LLC, based in Austin, Texas, expressed sorrow for the Wolobah family’s loss on Wednesday and said it would be “inappropriate” for the chip company to speculate about the teen’s death. Paqui LLC warns that these chips should not be consumed by children or anyone with serious health concerns.

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The chip challenge has been around for years, but has begun to spark some concern with young people filming themselves performing it, with some videos garnering millions of likes.

Dr. Rob Rosenbaum, medical director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the Delaware Department of Health, described the danger with food challenges like this one on the health and safety of young people.

“The presence of food challenges on social media has seen a number of potentially dangerous concepts putting individuals at risk of health consequences,” Rosenbaum said.

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As advertised by Paqui, the One Challenge Chip uses the Scoville Scale to measure its spiciness, with a rating of between 1.4 and 1.7 million units. Rosenbaum explained that this is nearly equivalent to that of pepper spay.

“Exposure to this amount of heat producing compounds in hot peppers can trigger adverse reactions including difficulty breathing, pain, nausea or vomiting,” Rosenbaum said. “These seemingly harmless challenges may result in unexpected health complications.”

Source : Delaware Online