Kerosene is Top Poison for Pinoy Kids (Public Advised Not to Put Kerosene in Beverage Containers)

Photo Courtesy of John Hopkins Public Health / Illustration by Kevin Ghiglione
An environmental watchdog promoting “Clean and Safe Homes for Zero Poisoning Incidents” has cautioned parents against storing kerosene in beverage containers and within reach of a curious child.

Kerosene, a fuel commonly used for lamps and stoves, can harm young children who wrongly drink it from unlabeled containers such as water and soft drink bottles, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
“Unsupervised kids who mistakenly drink kerosene placed in containers like water and soft drink bottles is the most common reason for poisoning emergencies involving young children,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Based on data supplied by the UP National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC), kerosene ranked first among the top 10 poison agents in 2013 for kids with 274 cases, followed by sodium hypochlorite (bleach) with 98 cases, and button batteries with 23 cases.

According to Dr. Carissa Deoquino, Head of the NPMCC, “there were 274  pediatric poisoning cases in 2013 involving the accidental ingestion of kerosene. Of the 190 out of 274 cases were 3 years old and below. Therefore, awareness on the toxicity of kerosene should be emphasized to parents or guardians of these children.”  

“If a child accidentally ingests kerosene, vomiting should not be induced.  Get medical help instead at the nearest health facility,” advised Dioquino.

According to the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, “toxicity occurs if kerosene is inhaled while being ingested (aspiration),” warning that “acute exposure to kerosene may result in central nervous system effects including irritability, restlessness, ataxia, drowsiness, convulsions, coma and death.” 

To prevent incidents of accidental kerosene ingestion, as well as fire, at home, the EcoWaste Coalition has reminded parents to observe the following:

1.  Do not put kerosene in beverage or food containers.

2.  Keep kerosene out of reach of children.

3.  Properly label kerosene containers.

4.  Keep kerosene lamps and stoves in safe working order.

5. Do not leave kerosene lamps and stoves unattended.

To report any case of poisoning and to obtain advice, the public may call the NPMCC’s 24-hour Poison Information Service at 5241078 or 5548400 local 2311.