Mothballs

Julie Weber Is This A Poison

Toxicity:  Minor toxicity is expected from taste amounts of a mothball.

Expected symptoms:  Chewing on a mothball can result in a bad taste or minor mouth irritation, swallowing the mothball can be upsetting to the stomach and result in limited nausea and vomiting.

What to do:  Remove any pieces of the mothball and rinse out the mouth.  Also wash any skin exposed to the mothball with soap and water.  After cleaning the mouth, give the child some water to drink.

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 right away at 1-800-222-1222 for recommendations. 

 

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

**Note: Don’t forget, every case is different. To make sure you are getting the best information for your individual situation, click below to call or chat. It is fast, free, and confidential.
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