'TikTok gum challenge' spurs hospitalizations

Massachusetts police are warning the public about a new TikTok trend that recently left 10 children hospitalized.

The challenge involves a brand of chewing gum known as "Trouble Bubble," which contains oleoresin capsicum — the same ingredient as police pepper spray. The gum has a heat level of 16 million Scoville heat units, while traditional pepper spray is only 1 to 2 million Scoville units. A photo of the gum's packaging shared by the Dracut (Mass.) Police Department challenges users to see if they can chew the gum long enough to blow a single bubble.

At least 10 children at a school in Orange, Mass., were taken to the hospital April 4 after coming into contact with the gum, according to NBC affiliate WWLP. Students who chewed the gum experienced digestive issues, including burning of the mouth and esophagus. Others who touched the gum also reported skin reactions and eye irritation. 

Six students were taken by ambulance to Athol (Mass.) Hospital and Heywood Hospital in Gardner, Mass. Several other students were taken to area hospitals by parents or guardians. 

"Anyone found to have used the gum should be treated for extensive exposure to oleoresin capsicum," the Dracut Police Department said in a April 5 Facebook post.

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