Negative Effects of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


Getty Images

Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS ice-bucket challenge, raising money for the support of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig Disease, has become a viral and international fundraiser. Many people are happy to be moving towards finding a possible cure for such a terrible and life altering disease. However, there are others whose concern lies with the negative side effects of this popular challenge.

The ALS Association is continuing to raise money that will allow for the testing of animals in order to find a cure. The numbers show that for those 30,000 Americans with Lou Gehrig, over 25 million animals each year are test subjects for biomedical experiments This is a source of frustration for some, who view it as a cruel and abusive way of studying science.

Another negative effect of the ice-bucket challenge that has been attracting notice is the extra use of water, as California is currently in a drought, and the second and third world countries are going without clean water, or any water. As it is, the use of water by humans is about 1.7 trillion gallons per year, used simply through actions like flushing the toilet, leaving the faucet running, or taking a shower. This use of water then leads to around 1.6 million deaths a year for those without clean drinking water. In order to gain supporters for this challenge, the unnecessary use of water is being excused.

Some of the people doing this challenge, or viewing it, still do not understand what ALS is. While victims of this disease are receiving support from the ice-bucket challenge, the fact is that for many people it appears to be a game, something that has gone viral for it’s entertainment portion only. A lot of the population does not actually know about the tragedy that is the Lou Gehrig Disease, or the reason for dumping ice water on yourself.

An additional topic of contention is what percentage of the donations are actually going towards research for a cure. Like all organizations, it is not possible to function without employees and advertisement, and these must be paid for. Throughout this campaign in particular, the amount of money being spent on high ranked members of the staff and association, along with advertisements, is considerable. An unfortunate and likely possibility is that less than fifty percent is actually being spent on research for a cure, which understandably is causing anger.

Ultimately, the worldwide attention being given to this ALS challenge shows awareness and support of ALS patients and families, lifting their spirits, and allowing for the possibility of a cure. It will never necessarily be known how negative the effects of such a fast-spreading challenge could be, but positive effects are definitely present, along with an awareness of the negative ones.