Killer Chip Harms Students Around the Nation

(Sarah Dussault/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images)
(Sarah Dussault/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images)

The “One Chip Challenge” might have seemed like a fun activity to try with your friends but not anymore after the death of a teenager in Worcester.

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old Doherty High School student decided to eat the chip during school on September 1 and died later that day. His death is believed to be from complications with the chip.

The Paqui “One Chip Challenge started in 2016 but went viral only a couple of years ago. The chip is made with Carolina Reaper peppers which can increase your heart rate and potentially lead to heart attack or stroke, with minor symptoms such as mouth burning, mouth numbness, and even vomiting, according to the National Institute of Health. Medical experts have cautioned about the chip’s potential danger due to its high capsaicin concentration, a chemical also found in pepper spray. 

Though no deaths occurred until last month, people have been hospitalized and physically harmed by the challenge. In California, three students were rushed to the hospital after consuming the chip.

Immediately, people began to question: Should Paqui stop selling the chip?

Lois Wolobah, mother of Harris, wanted it banned hoping that no one else would feel the pain she and her family are feeling.Lunchables Are Coming to School Cafeteria Menus. We Unwrap the Reasons Why

On September 11, Paqui recalled the chip.

Paqui issued a statement reiterating that the “One Chip Challengeis exclusively intended for adults and prominently labeled to deter children, those sensitive to spicy foods, individuals with food allergies, underlying health conditions, or who are pregnant from attempting it.”

However, even when pulling the chip from the shelves, issues still arise. Just a few days ago, ten seventh graders from Holliston were hospitalized from taking part in the challenge. They had already purchased the chips before they were recalled.

According to NBC 10 Boston, some of the kids had burn marks on their skin when they tried it at lunch.

Another question: Are social media challenges too dangerous? Why do teens feel the need to do something that could be dangerous?

People are willing to put themselves in harm’s way for online attention. This is not a new trend. In 2021, the “Milk Crate Challenge” went viral.

The challenge involved milk crates put together as stairs and you had to climb up and down without falling. When people got to the top, it was very likely they would fall and hurt themselves.Milk crate challenge - Wikipedia

Another infamous challenge was the “Tide Pod Challenge” where someone eats a Tide Pod. Obviously, Tide Pods contain dangerous and poisonous chemicals that should never be digested. Some died and many were hospitalized.

Not all challenges and trends are dangerous. Social media shouldn’t be at fault for any of it. If someone is willing to do something to risk their life, that’s their fault.

Even without social media teenagers have participated in dumb and deadly activities. In the 1950s, teenagers would play “chicken” a game where they drove cars at each other, and the first to grab the wheel and avoid the hit would lose. Some teenagers did die from that.

The point is, will banning the chip do anything or will kids be kids and find another viral way to harm themselves?

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About the Contributor
Jason Ford
Jason Ford, Editor
Junior Jason Ford is an editor for his second year on The Big Red. He enjoys learning more about the school through interviewing and being involved with the people and events of Hudson High. Ford enjoys covering sports.  His go-to Dunkin' order is a bacon egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel. 

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