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. Sep-Oct 1997;19(6):404-8.

Acute Ethanol Toxicity From Ingesting Mouthwash in Children Younger Than 6-years of Age

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  • PMID: 9348605

Acute Ethanol Toxicity From Ingesting Mouthwash in Children Younger Than 6-years of Age

J D Shulman et al. Pediatr Dent. .

Abstract

The purpose of our study was to analyze reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) of suspected overingestion of ethanol from mouthrinses by children younger than 6 years of age between 1989 and 1994. Annual incidence rates of reported ethanol exposures attributed to mouthrinses were calculated. Lethal and toxic amounts of several mouthrinses were calculated using peak blood ethanol concentrations of 500 and 50 mg per 100 mL, respectively. In 1994, there were 2937 calls reported by poison control centers related to ethanol-containing mouthrinses, an estimated incidence of 168 reported exposures per 100,000 children younger than 6 years of age. A 15-kg child who ingests 212 mL (7.2 oz.) of Listerine (26.9% ethanol) ingests 57 mL (1.9 oz.) of ethanol, which is potentially lethal. Approximately one-tenth that amount of ethanol can produce a toxic reaction. Physicians, dentists, and other health care providers should inform parents of the dangers associated with accidental ingestion of mouthrinse and encourage them to keep mouthrinse out of the reach of children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should require readily visible warning labels and child-resistant caps for containers with potentially toxic volumes of ethanol. The American Dental Association (ADA) should re-evaluate its acceptance criteria for advertising cosmetic mouthrinses in its publications and consider including child-resistant caps and warning labeling.

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