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‘One Chip Challenge’ causes death of a teenager, autopsy confirms

Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old from Massachusetts, tragically passed away after taking part in the ‘One Chip Challenge,’ as confirmed by an autopsy on Thursday.

According to his mother, Lois Wolobah, she received a call on September 1, 2023, from the Doherty High School nurse, informing her that her son had fainted after consuming the chip given to him by a friend. Upon arriving to pick him up, Mrs. Wolobah witnessed Harris clenching in pain, holding his stomach. Later that day, Harris lost consciousness again at home after only two hours and was rushed to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.

While the autopsy from the Chief Office of the Medical Examiner revealed that the teenager had a condition of cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, contributing to his passing, Dr. Syed Haider, a cardiologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, warns of the negative effects of consuming excessive doses of chili pepper extract, even for those without serious health problems.

Teenage boy's attempt at 'One Chip Challenge' ends in death

The ‘One Chip Challenge, featuring two of the hottest peppers in the world, including the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper, gained popularity for its intensity. People all over the internet were seen joining in the challenge, only to find themselves shedding tears from the searing heat, frantically reaching for water or milk to alleviate the fiery sensation.

Despite warnings on the packaging, particularly the ominous-looking coffin-shaped box, the challenge has led to serious reports of illness, especially among children.

“We observed an increase in reports of teens and individuals disregarding these warnings,” stated Paqui. “As a precautionary measure, while the product complied with food safety standards, we collaborated with retailers to voluntarily withdraw it from shelves in September 2023, discontinuing the One Chip Challenge.”

“We were and remain deeply saddened by the loss of Harris Wolobah and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” the company expressed in a statement on Thursday. “Paqui’s One Chip Challenge was designed for adults only, with explicit labeling emphasizing that the product was unsuitable for children or individuals sensitive to spicy foods or with underlying health conditions.”

This tragic incident highlights the unforeseen dangers associated with seemingly harmless trends that circulate on social media. It serves as a reminder to exercise caution and discretion when engaging in internet challenges or dares.


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