Part two of a three-part blog series: beverage container mishaps!
Thirsty? Think twice before taking a swig! You never know if someone has used that container for transporting and/or storing cleaning products, chemicals, human/animal waste or who knows what! You won’t believe the calls we get regarding unexpected and potentially toxic things that end up in our mouths:
The trend with homemade slime, has increased the number of calls we receive related to people drinking Sodium Tetraborate (Borax), a solution commonly mixed in a water bottle. When ingested, it may result in some stomach upset. However, it usually doesn’t lead to any severe toxicity. Regardless, it’s never a good idea to use a drinking device to create potentially toxic creations.
Gatorade bottles have a nice wide opening making them useful to drain different automotive fluids such as brake fluid, radiator fluid, motor oil, etc. These fluids often have the same color as many Gatorade flavors. Windshield washer fluid is blue. Radiator antifreeze is green/yellow. Brake fluid is often red. If swallowed, some of these fluids can damage kidneys, other vital organs and can potentially be fatal. These fluids can easily be mistaken for common sports drinks. Make sure to immediately and safely dispose of any containers used in this manner.
We’ve handled calls regarding almost any substance you can think of (and many you can’t) that were stored in a soda bottle. Recently we received a call regarding a small child that drank Zep Alume-E ™, a very caustic aluminum wheel cleaner (hydrofluoric, phosphoric and sulfuric acids) that had been stored in a Mountain Dew bottle. While these acids can burn, the hydrofluoric acid (when ingested) can cause an abnormal heartbeat and lead to rapid death. Fortunately in this case, the child ingested a minimal amount which did not cause any permanent damage.
Aluminum cans are commonly used as makeshift ashtrays and spittoons at parties/picnics. However, young children are notorious for sampling the things left behind in these colorful and portable cans. Nicotine toxicity causes a variety of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, tremors, and possibly seizures. Young or old, drinking discarded nicotine is pretty gross!
Lamp oils are often packaged in clear plastic bottles that resemble a water or fruit beverage bottle. Lamp oils and tiki torch fuel look like apple juice and can be tempting to a toddler. Even a small mouthful can lead to severe respiratory distress and can be fatal. Side by side, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between a cup of oil and a cup of juice. As for the oil container labels, they do include label warnings, but children cannot read or understand these labels. It’s up to adult(s) to keep products like this out of reach of children, pets or others.
- If anything is ingested, do NOT induce vomiting; call the Illinois Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 Helpline ASAP;
- Always store things in their original, fully labeled containers;
- Never use a beverage container (can, jar, glass, bottle, cup, etc.) for mixing, transferring or storing non-beverage liquids, but…
- If it’s absolutely necessary to do so, properly dispose of the container and its contents in a sealed trash receptacle ASAP;
- Always store beverage containers in a separate location from home/yard/automotive products; and
MOST OF ALL, DON’T PANIC!
If something happens, don’t hesitate to call the IPC’s free, confidential 24/7/365 expert Helpline 800-222-1222. To save this number to your phone(s), text: 797979. No question or issue is too big or too small (or too embarrassing). Just call! Click here for some quick first aid recommendations or here for information regarding common child exposures.
Erin, Vickie and the IPC Team!
P.S. Got an experience to share or want to hear more about something else? Leave us a comment below and/or email us at IPCadmin@team-iha.org.