By Diane Ivey
Recently, vendors on ecommerce sites like Etsy have been making and selling glitter pills. They’re exactly what they sound like: capsules full of colorful glitter. Just like other pills, they come in many varieties. One seller, Glittery Pills, offers gel capsules in “Saint Patrick’s Day Green,” “Slurm Neon,” and even “Pumpkin Spice.” Elsewhere on the internet, Eatglitter.com sells a collection of glitter pills called “Unicorn Food,” claiming their wares are, “so glam, your unicorn will piss glitter.”
Um, wait a minute. What?!
Each seller’s front page has a big disclaimer saying the pills are not for consumption. Glitter pills are, sellers say, for decorative purposes only. You’re supposed to collect and trade the pills (similar to equally useless toys from my childhood like Puppy In My Pocket, or Pokemon cards, I guess?), or you can break the capsule and use the glitter in a craft project, or, apparently, you can “glitter bomb” your friends by pouring the glitter on them. (HappyFunGlitterPills asks that any glitter-bombing be consensual, so, at least they’re considerate?)
Despite claims that the pills are inedible, many of the sites include jokes about defecating glitter as a result of consumption. Then they follow it up with a statement that says “don’t really do this, guys!” I know we’re being ironic (by referencing a love for unicorns and acting like you don’t care if you die), but this is more than a mixed message. You know even a small percentage of people are actually swallowing them just to see what will happen. The idea of defecating glitter has, of course, made its way into various trend pieces about the potentially harmful effects of this practice. Now if someone can just link it to “selfie culture” and “affluenza,” we’ll have Millennial Bingo.
So far, we’ve yet to see any real evidence that, if swallowed, glitter pills actually produce glitter poop. And while many of the pills contain “nontoxic” glitter (meaning it’s not poisonous), eating enough glitter to have it show up in your stool can’t be healthy. As one article states, there is photographic evidence of glitter poop from a dog, but as for humans, “…having a taste of the stuff won’t kill you, but no one’s suggesting you casually snack on it, either.”
It’s hard to say whether something like this can and should be regulated. If you know anyone who works in healthcare, you’ve heard a story about the time a person swallowed something they shouldn’t. But given that this is a relatively simple DIY project, it surely presents some dangers in its accessibility. How long will it take for someone to die from swallowing glitter? There are already cough syrup restrictions, and that’s an actual medication. Will we someday get carded before buying something from the craft department?
We don’t know what the future holds for glitter pills. But I guess we do know the extent to which some people will go for irony. I can’t deny that there’s a weird sort of Party Monster appeal in swallowing a pill filled with glitter and not caring what happens next. However, most of us know better, and we’re not about to waste $5.00 on two inedible pills. I do know one thing to be true: the Internet will never stop giving us ways to waste our money. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.
Diane Ivey is the web content manager at AAPS and a member of the AAPS Blog team with four years of experience in association website management. She holds a master’s in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield and a bachelor’s in journalism from Michigan State University.