Police are warning parents and teachers alike of the newest trend on TikTok. One involving literally the “hottest” bubble gum. The Trouble Bubble challenge is making its way through social media. How big of a bubble can you blow without spitting out bubble gum infused with 16 million Scoville heat units? Let’s provide a little perspective on how dangerous this challenge might actually be, shall we?
We all know that addictive burn brought on by a bag of hot cheetos or takis. What causes that burn? That’s capsaicin. A substance naturally found in chili peppers. What capsaicin does is bind to a receptor on your tongue or skin called TRPV1. In layman’s terms, it’s the receptor that tells you something is too hot. Now, to be fair, capsaicin gives the illusion of burning. It doesn’t actually burn your skin or tongue when you eat something hot. However, rather than just contain capsaicin, “Trouble Bubble” contains oleoresin capsicum. Otherwise known as pepper spray.
Too Hot To Handle, Literally
While capsaicin creates the heat “intensity”, oleoresin capsicum is the extracted oil and pulp of a chili pepper, mixed with other capsaicinoids. What this causes is inflammation, eye pain, and respiratory issues. The amount of oleoresin capsicum in Trouble Bubble rates 16 million Scoville heat units. Roughly the equivalent of pure capsaicin. For reference, the hottest pepper in the world is only 2.2 million SHU. While this isn’t fatal, it’s hot and irritating enough to a human body to really mess you up.
More than half a dozen kids from an Orange elementary school were sent to the hospital due to exposure from having even touched the gum, as well as those who’d eaten it. While the effects of oleoresin capsicum aren’t fatal, they can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for children. We’re all for a fun challenge: the ice bucket challenge, the mannequin challenge, diet coke and mentos. Those are largely challenges that don’t have the potential to hurt that much. We think perhaps this one needs to be tabled.