Janet Kwak, David Gregory
A new trend, proliferated by YouTube videos, called the "Ice and Salt Challenge" is turning a chemical reaction into a potentially dangerous situation for countless people. Janet Kwak reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 2, 2012.
What would otherwise be a simple science experiment has turned into a dangerous dare when mixed with social media outlets – like YouTube – giving users a platform to showcase their videos of mixing salt and ice before adding pressure.
“They were like, I dare you I bet you can't try it, and they're like, nothing's going to happen if you put it on there, and when they took it off it ripped off the whole piece of the skin,” said Alex Chavelas.
In Pittsburg, a 12-year-old boy suffered second-degree burns after copying a salt-and-ice challenge he saw on YouTube.
Doctors say the chemical combination of salt, ice and time can cause permanent damage.
“There’re first-, second- and third-degree burns. Third-degree burns are when you actually burn through the nerves and may not heal,” said NBC4 health expert Dr. Bruce Hensel.
Countless Twitter users post pictures of scars endured from the challenge, including blisters and burns that may take months to heal after their skin started freezing.
Anthony Flores, 14, said his friends tried the stunt and learned the hard – painful – way how ice reacts with salt.
“I guess we were bored, something to do for the summer, I guess,” Flores said. Health authorities have alerted parents about:
This painful, well-publicized trend is not the first of its kind.
In the past, health authorities have warned parents about the Cinnamon Challenge, in which people are dared to eat a tablespoon of cinnamon without drinking water; and the Skittles Challenge, prompting people to eat an entire bag of candy at once.