In the pantheon the candy, it"s unconvinced that any type of sweet treat has actually benefitted much more from scientific testing than pop Rocks, the iconic liquid that came to be famous and ultimately infamous for creating tiny "explosions" inside kids" mouths. Introduced to an unsuspecting market way back in 1974, kids of the era couldn"t get enough of this carbonated confection that amazingly simulated the emotion of fireworks walking off inside one"s skull.

You are watching: Can pop rocks and soda kill you

With an origin that actually extends every the method back to the 1950s, popular music Rocks have been the resource of scandal, city legends, parental fear, and also damage-control public-relations campaigns. In fact, it"s not hyperbole come say the Pop Rocks may well be the many misunderstood commercially created candy ever.

Despite the product"s long history and enduring popularity with the younger set, just how much perform candy connoisseurs yes, really know about this wholly unique candy creation? Keep reading to discover some important fascinating truth by acquisition a deep dive into the untold reality of popular music Rocks.

Wikimedia Commons
According to an exhibit at Vancouver"s Science World, the pop Rocks story began in 1956 once General foodstuffs chemist wilhelm A. Mitchell was trying out on producing an immediate soft drink. 

"We were trying to make a carbonated beverage powder that would certainly taste good," Mitchell stated in an interview with People. Together Mitchell explained, what the was functioning on was a drink powder that, when blended with water, would transform into a fizzy carbonated drink. "We wanted to placed carbon dioxide straight into a solid," the said.

The resulting carbonated flour didn"t work the method he had actually hoped, yet when he tasted a bit of that Mitchell quickly realized he had stumbled ~ above something interesting: sweet little chunks that would "pop" when inserted inside the mouth, the carbon dioxide activated once the heat and also moisture that saliva liquified the chunks. As People noted, scientists from all over the firm came come Mitchell"s lab to sample his inadvertent creation. 

"It came to be a game — who might swallow the greatest chunk," Mitchell recalled. "It was a fun afternoon and also we wasted a most time, however I assumed it was a great thing from the start."

Pop Rocks was far from the just food product to feather from the inventive mental of william A. Mitchell. Together Smithsonian Magazine recalled, Mitchell was likewise responsible for several of the many iconic items uncovered on supermarket shelves during the 1950s and 1960s

It was back in 1957, in fact, that Mitchell created a Day-Glo orange-colored flavored decision that, when blended with water, turned right into a faux orange juice, referred to as Tang. Flavor made history when it was taken into space by astronauts, offered to disguise the metallic taste the the water board NASA spacecraft. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin drank it during his famed an are missions, but wasn"t a fan, informing NPR years later on that "Tang sucks."

A te later, Mitchell hit a double home operation when, in 1967, he patented a powdered gelatin that would set with water, i beg your pardon General foodstuffs would later turn right into quick-set Jell-O. He adhered to that increase the same year with a non-dairy whipped cream alternative called Cool Whip, which was so embraced by consumers that that quickly ended up being its division"s most lucrative product.

Equally together fascinating as the accidental innovation of pop Rocks is the science behind why this distinctive candy pops when inserted in one"s mouth. According to the patent, explained Science World, the mixture is heated come 280 degrees Fahrenheit, at which suggest carbon dioxide is included under press of 600 psi (which is about fifty percent the pressure supplied in soda). When the mixture cools and the push is released, the result concoction hardens and also then shatters into tiny pieces. Those small fragments space filled v tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide.

When the resultant candy is inserted in the mouth, the heat and also moisture reasons the candy to dissolve, top those small gas bubbles to burst and make the distinctive popping noise, while creating a tickling sensation in ~ the mouth.

Pop Rocks creator william A. Mitchell is an admitted fan of his candy invention. "Oh man!" he excitedly said People once describing the sensation of popping some Pop Rocks right into his mouth. "It snaps, it fries — friend don"t know where it"s coming from!"

One of the many prevalent beliefs linked with pop Rocks is that the liquid is actually dangerous — together in, lethally dangerous. As Snopes recalled, an urban myth took organize as beforehand as the 1970s, declaring that some boy somewhere scarfed numerous bags of pop Rocks in combination with soda and died after ~ his stomach swelled with gas and then exploded. That, the course, never ever happened, yet the unfounded rumor spread far and wide, leading many people to think that popular music Rocks were downright deadly.

"There is no danger," popular music Rocks creator william A. Mitchell assured People. "The worst thing the rocks might do is do you burp. The amount of gas in popular music Rocks is less than one-tenth the lot in a can of soda pop."

In fact, an illustration of Discovery"s Mythbusters successfully disproved the insurance claim that popular music Rocks and soda would make one"s stomach burst. After testing it out with sophisticated experiment involving a pig"s stomach, hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage eventually concurred with Mitchell"s claim around the burping, but concluded the popular music Rocks-soda combo merely didn"t produce enough gas to fatally to explode a human being stomach.

At some point in the 1970s, the metropolitan legend that drinking soda in mix with popular music Rocks was killing kids en masse morphed into a bizarre apocryphal rumor that was spread throughout recess in schoolyards transparent the country. This rumor declared that a familiar TV personality met his end by eating popular music Rocks and washing the down v soda.

In 1971, Quaker Oats created a now-iconic commercial because that its Life cereal, featuring some dubious youngsters who thought the grain looked too healthy and balanced to be any good. They decided to an initial test that on small Mikey — who "hates everything" — to gauge his reaction. Mikey happy gobbled the up, spawning the catchphrase "Mikey likes it!" number of years later, a rumor circulated the the boy who played Mikey to be the child who was killed by combining popular music Rocks and also soda.

That to be nonsense. The actor that played Mikey, john Gilchrist, did no die. In 2012, that told Newsday the he first heard of the rumor in the so late 1970s, once his mother received a tearful contact from a friend offering her condolences that her son had been killed by candy. "He just came residence from school," Gilchrist"s mommy told the friend. 

The urban legend the Pop Rocks to be slaughtering America"s children spread favor a virus, and also became so common that General foodstuffs was required to take it some extreme measures. In 1979, note an FAQ ~ above the popular music Rocks website, the company took out a full-page advertisement that that ran in 45 significant publications throughout the nation to allow consumers know the rumors to be bogus and that pop Rocks were fully safe.

In addition, the agency also delivered around 50,000 letters to school principals almost everywhere the U.S., and even sent Pop Rocks creator wilhelm A. Mitchell ~ above a speaking tour to execute some damage manage by personally explaining the ins and outs that his liquid to terrified parental in order come assuage your fears.

Controversy and Pop Rocks, the seems, were never much apart. Even prior to the rumors that exploding stomachs started circulating, parental pertains to over the according to treat had actually grown come the allude that the FDA set up a hotline to educate parents the the candy popping away favor tiny fireworks in your children"s mouths was perfectly safe.

While pop Rocks mixed with soda might not it is in lethal, the mix does indeed create an excessive amount that gas. And also while the amount of carbon dioxide expelled may not be sufficient to actually death someone, it is enough to punch up a balloon.

West Virginia CBS affiliate WDTV prove a simple science experiment making use of a party of soda, some Pop Rocks, a balloon, and also a funnel. The instructions to be as basic as that comes: to water a packet of popular music Rocks right into the balloon by making use of a funnel, fasten the balloon come the peak of the soda bottle and also then traction the balloon up in order to drop the popular music Rocks right into the soda.

At that point, the popular music Rocks become coated in bubbles, v gas escaping native both the soda and the candy. As the gas escapes, it has nowhere to go except up right into the balloon, pour it until it is full it up v gas and causing the balloon come expand.

Despite the real dispute generated by fake rumors, popular music Rocks continued to it is in a hit with kids, who possibly experienced the thrill that cheating fatality whenever they tossed some right into their mouths. That was why, recalled the Gone however Not forgotten Groceries blog, in the so late 1970s general Foods decided to beginning a spinoff product. Dubbed space Dust, this candy was basically Pop Rocks that had actually been crushed into a fine powder.

The title turned the end to be an regrettably one. At the moment of the brand-new candy"s debut, noted the blog, powder-based medicine such as cocaine and heroin were experiencing a surging in poularity. Worse, a mind-altering medicine name Phencyclidine, likewise known as PCP, had been do headlines when those who took it went berserk, hallucinating and also often engaging in violent behavior. The drug"s street name: point of view dust.

The similarity in nomenclature in between angel dust and space Dust brought about even more parental fears, driving under sales come the suggest that General foodstuffs rebranded the product under a brand-new name, Cosmic Candy, in stimulate to eliminate the impression the was marketing some type of medicine to unsuspecting children. The product was eventually discontinued.

Pop Rocks to be once famous in institution playgrounds, however in recent years the candy has actually been do a comeback in an unanticipated location: behind the bar. In fact, creative bartenders have actually been utilizing Pop Rocks in cocktail creations utilizing the candy"s fizzy little explosions in your libations.

One digital recipe comprehensive how to develop Jell-O shots through Pop Rocks, combine two products invented by General foodstuffs scientist William A. Mitchell in a method he likely never anticipated. Meanwhile, candy-loving cocktail connoisseurs have the right to enjoy one more inventive treat, the liquid corn vodka martini through Pop Rocks top top the rim of the glass (anyone attempting this cocktail, however, is reminded to ensure the popular music Rocks don"t gain wet ahead of serving, because wet pop Rocks won"t pop).

There are even non-alcoholic beverages using Pop Rocks, such as Pop Rocks punch, a mixture of fruit juices v Pop Rocks sprinkled atop simply the drink is served. For secondary jolt, the in salt of the glass is coated v Pop Rocks, margarita-style.

Pop Rocks aren"t just finding their method into cocktails, but likewise into food. In fact, numerous chefs at some of the world"s top restaurants have used the candy together an ingredient in few of their more unusual dishes. For example, a 2000 write-up in the Washington Post described chef Christy Velie making use of Pop Rocks in a mushroom ceviche served at the Washington, D.C. Eatery cafe Atlantico. "We desire to adjust people"s dining experience," she said the Post. "We desire them to it is in entertained at the very same time."

In fact, Food Republic detailed 30 other chefs were utilizing Pop Rocks in their dishes in 2014, and some the those to be in part wildly an innovative ways. Amongst them were a sushi roll coated with watermelon-flavored pop Rocks native Nashville"s Virago restaurant and a foie gras lollipop encrusted through Pop Rocks from celebrity chef Graham Eliot"s namesake Chicago restaurant. 

Atlanta restaurant bad Calvin"s pure Fusion, noted Food Republic, offered two food selection items featuring popular music Rocks: a lobster tail coated with Pop Rocks and a duck pate offered with a red-wine-lavender jelly and Pop Rocks.

Another chef who uses Pop Rocks in recipes is hoston Blumenthal, a pioneer in the molecular gastronomy movement whose restaurant, The Fat Duck, infuses scientific research in that is dishes. Blumenthal has demonstrated a fondness for Pop Rocks together an ingredient. According to Heston, the enjoyment that food isn"t based simply on just how a dish tastes, looks and also smells, but also on exactly how it sounds. 

In his series Heston"s Recipes because that Romance for Australian TV network way of life Food, Blumenthal mutual his concept that pop Rocks aren"t simply fun, but also seductive. Come prove his point, he carried in physicist Oliver Joseph to inspection diners as they listened to an array of "chewing, scraping, biting and sucking noises," asking them to rate the sound they appreciated the most.

"One the the sound the topics consistently favored was the popping candy," Joseph said Heston. " kind of rhythmic, in some type of comforting way, possibly a bit musical and also of food it is being excellent by a mouth so that is other a little like singing."

Perhaps the was one of the considerations once he developed his exploding chocolate gateau, utilizing Pop Rocks as the explosive an enig ingredient. Possibly he think the surprise of the basic exploding in your mouths with job-related as one aphrodisiac?

In 2011, the New York Post reported a bizarre lawsuit launched by Jehangir Mehta, owner the Graffiti Bistro & Bakery in brand-new York City"s east Village, that sued chief Jesus Nunez Rabano over accusations that Rabano ripped that off as soon as he opened his similarly named Graffit USA ~ above the top West Side. That wasn"t simply the eatery"s name that was in ~ issue, however; Mehta additionally accused Rabano"s restaurant of stealing his "unique food combinations and unusual ingredients."

The vital ingredient discussed in the trademark-infringement lawsuit was Pop Rocks. Together Mehta"s suit pointed out, he"d been making use of Pop Rocks together a cooking recipes ingredient "for plenty of years" in his restaurant, and likewise utilized the candy as soon as he completed in the Food Network"s The next Iron Chef, in i beg your pardon he to be a runner-up in 2009.

According to Mehta"s lawsuit, the learned of Rabano"s alleged culinary thievery "as a an outcome of an interview provided by Nunez" in which the revealed the the "defendants additionally planned to use this exceptionally obscure ingredient in a dish to be served at Graffit."

High-end restaurants aren"t the just eateries using Pop Rocks as a recipe ingredient. In fact, at least one fast-food chain acquired in on the activity when, in 2017, Taco Bell introduced its Firecracker Burrito. The mystery ingredient, detailed fast-food blog Brand Eating, was a tiny packet that "cayenne popping crystals" the a diner might sprinkle atop the burato to carry out a firecracker-like effect when eating it. When the pop Rocks brand name was never used, anyone that ate the burrito knew specifically what those "popping crystals" were trying to be. 

According come a report in USA Today, Taco Bell"s Firecracker burato was readily available in two varieties, "Popping Cheesy" and also "Popping Spicy." in ~ the time, the chain was testing out the Firecracker burrito at four Taco Bells in California"s Orange County, two in Santa Ana, one in Anaheim and another in Tustin, with plans for further trial and error at some locations in Toledo, OH.

Given the Taco Bell"s Firecracker burrito didn"t move past the test phase and never received a national launch, it"s safe to assume consumers weren"t taken by the burrito and its "cayenne popping crystals."

When most human being get a hankering for Pop Rocks, they just go to the nearest purveyor that candy and pick up a fill or two. However, there are additionally some intrepid culinary adventurers who"ve attempted to do their own DIY versions, some even posting your recipes online.

In recipes mutual by The everyday Meal and Saveur, the an enig ingredient isn"t carbon dioxide, yet citric acid, i m sorry Saveur claims produces an "effervescent feeling on your tongue." While these recipes offer an approximation of popular music Rocks, lock pale in comparison to the real thing. That"s because creating actual pop Rocks needs 600 psi that high pressure, other you"re no going to acquire with a store-bought press cooker.

A video shared by Bon Appetit attributes pastry chef Claire Saffitz attempting to produce "gourmet popular music Rocks," addressing the pressure issue by discussing including a carbon dioxide tank come a sealed chamber in stimulate to attain the forced 600 psi. Among the entrants in the endeavor pretty lot summed up the endure of do DIY popular music Rocks as soon as he quipped, "Look, it"s no gonna it is in easy. It"s not gonna be safe. But I carry out think it"s possible." Saffitz, however, felt the risk was too good and went with safer versions using citric acid and even dried ice.

See more: How Many Jumping Jacks To Lose A Pound S By Summer In Just 5 Steps

Beyond their usage in cocktails, exploding cakes and also Taco Bell burritos, pop Rocks can likewise be supplied in that most iconic of college science projects: the erupting volcano.

The tried-and-true science-project volcano combines vinegar, baking soda, and red food color to create a foaming "eruption" the mimics molten lava flow from an energetic volcano. The Growing a Jeweled Rose website takes things to the next level by cleverly adding Pop Rocks come the mix. This, the site explained, also gives the faux volcano audible tiny explosions, adding the element of sound come the eruption — something that the chemical reaction developed by mixing vinegar and also baking soda doesn"t provide. 

The site suggests mixing a half-pack of pop Rocks v a half-cup the baking soda, together with a full cup that vinegar. Follow to the experiment, the popping noises developed by the pop Rocks were both impressive and long-lasting, v the "explosions" heard for "a couple of minutes."