Spicy Chip Killed Worcester Teen: Know More Here

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The popular “one chip challenge” on social media claimed the life of a Worcester kid, who died after consuming a substance high in capsaicin, or chili pepper extract, an Executive Office of Public Safety and Security spokeswoman confirmed to MassLive.

On September 1, 2023, the teenager—a 10th grader—died as a result of consuming the chip. He wasn’t breathing when police arrived at his house, so they took him to the hospital, where he passed away.

According to Elaine Driscoll, an office spokesperson, the boy’s cause of death was classified as cardiac arrest “in the setting of recent ingestion of food substance with high capsaicin concentration.” His autopsy revealed that he also had a congenital cardiac abnormality and an enlarged heart. The National Institutes of Health states that the teen’s cardiac condition, known as myocardial bridging, can result in unexpected death.

Harris Wolobah, 14, participated in the “One Chip Challenge” offered by the food brand Paqui, which entails consuming a chip infused with some of the spiciest peppers on the planet, Scorpion and Carolina Reaper. The chip was removed from the shelves following his death.

Fears that Wolobah’s family had regarding the chip seem to have been validated by the postmortem results.

According to Driscoll, the Associated Press, the death certificate was given to the municipal clerk’s office on March 5 after the cause of death was established on February 27.

Each Paqui chip cost roughly $10 and was packaged in a foil-wrapped coffin-shaped box with a warning that it was meant for the “vengeful pleasure of intense heat and pain.” The notice stated that youngsters should not get access to the chip and that it should only be consumed by adults.

Children have had no trouble purchasing the chips in spite of the warning. Reports of teenagers becoming ill after participating in the chip-eating challenge have surfaced nationwide; three high school students from California were among those who were hospitalized. In 2022, after participating in the challenge, seven kids became unwell, prompting the call of paramedics to a Minnesota school.

According to Worcester Public Schools, Wolobah is a “rising star.”

“My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him,” Worcester Schools Superintendent Rachel Monarrez said in the statement.

The teen’s parents, Lois and Amos Wolobah, spoke with WBZ-TV reporters this week about their loss and urged Paqui to remove the One Chip Challenge product from the market. The firm did so shortly after the interview aired.

“I hope, I pray to God that no parents will go through what I’m going through. I don’t want to see anybody hurting the way I’m hurting.” Lois Wolobah told WBZ-TV. “I miss my son so much. I miss him so much.”

“We’ve been having sleepless nights, especially when I look at him,” Amos Wolobah said. “He’s not coming back anymore.”

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