Circulating message warns that drinking Pepsi and eating Mentos together will lead to instant death because the mixture turns into cyanide poison.
The claims in the message are untrue. Combining Pepsi (or Coke) and Mentos will create a rather spectacular chemical reaction and consuming the two together might cause a stomach upset. However, there are no credible reports that support the claim that it could cause death or serious injury. And the claim that the products magically turn into cyanide is utter nonsense. The ‘warning’ is just a resurrected version of a very old hoax that first began circulating around a decade ago.
According to this rather breathless ‘warning’ message, drinking Pepsi after eating Polo or Mentos mints leads to instant death. The message claims that, when combined, the two products turn into cyanide poison, thus killing those who consume them. It asks that you pass on the information to as many people as possible to help keep them safe. To drive home the point, the message features images depicting the two products concerned along with a picture showing a young woman with blood around her mouth.
However, the warning is nonsense. Consuming the two products will not cause death as claimed.
Of course, as most of us probably know by now, combining Mentos candy with Pepsi or Coke does cause a rather spectacular chemical reaction. Elements of the candy react with the carbon dioxide in the cola to create fountains of fizz. The scientific reasons for the reaction are well documented and certainly not a mystery. And, because the fizz geysers created by the reaction are both fun and easy to create, there are thousands of YouTube videos showing cola and Mentos experiments. A great many people – young and old – have conducted such experiments themselves.
Given the strength of the chemical reaction, it is perhaps not surprising that people might fear the possible health outcomes of eating Mentos and drinking cola together. But, despite the fact that the Coke and Mentos craze has been popular for at least a decade, there are no credible news or medical reports that support the idea that people have died or been seriously injured after eating the products. Moreover, there are countless YouTube videos depicting people actually consuming Mentos and cola without dropping dead or becoming seriously ill. Eating and drinking the products or holding them in your mouth might cause prolonged belching or projectile vomiting. You might come away with an upset tummy. It might end up rather messy. It is thus an experiment that people, especially children, should avoid because it may well cause distress and discomfort. But, it’s NOT going to kill you.
In fact, this would-be warning is just an updated version of much older ‘Coke and Mentos death’ hoaxes that have circulated since at least 2006. Discovery’s MythBusters TV show did a segment about the Coke and Mentos death myth some years ago and pronounced it ‘busted’.
And, of course, the suggestion that a mixture of Pepsi and Mentos can somehow turn into deadly cyanide poison is simply absurd. If potentially fatal quantities of cyanide could be produced by the casual combination of everyday products like cola and candy, then deaths by cyanide poisoning would be commonplace. And, there would also be official and well-publicised warnings about combining these supposed cyanide producing components.
Circulating such nonsensical health warnings helps nobody.