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Mothballs

Medium Risk

Also known as:

Enoz® moth bars. Moth traps moth flakes

Possible Symptoms
  • Bad taste
  • mouth irritation
  • stomach irritation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water and soap.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.

Important

Most mothballs have either **paradichlorobenzene** or **naphthalene** as the active ingredient. This information is specifically in regards to paradichlorobenzene which has less toxicity. If your child has been exposed to a naphthalene mothball, please call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for recommendations.

Additional Information

Quick Facts about mothballs:

The Missouri Poison Center is ready to answer your question, “my child ate a mothball, what do I do?”

In addition to the traditional “ball” form, mothball products come in flakes, crystals, or bars. The mothball starts out in solid form but slowly changes into a toxic gas which can kill clothes moths and their eggs. It is a pesticide and is intended to be used only in airtight bags or containers (for example, in a clothes storage bin). If mothballs are used out in the open, such as in an attic or basement area, they can be harmful to people and pets.

It is important to keep mothballs out of the reach of children. To a child, they appear to be some sort of candy, such as a gum ball. When put in the mouth, a child usually experiences an immediate pungent taste and spits it out because it is unpleasant. If swallowed, it can cause upset stomach and possibly vomiting. The gas released from the mothball can be irritating to the eyes and nose, leading to watery eyes, runny nose and cough.

If you find your child with a mothball do not panic.  Take the mothball away from them, wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water to drink.

If problems start or you have questions,  call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.  The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

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