BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPencil swallowingGraphite poisoning; Swallowing pencilsThis article discusses the health problems that may occur if you swallow a pencil.This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. Poisonous Ingredient Despite common belief, pencils have never contained lead. All pencils are made of graphite, which is a soft form of carbon. Carbon is a completely different element than lead. Symptoms Graphite is relatively nonpoisonous. There may be no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include stomachache and vomiting, which could be from a bowel obstruction (blockage).The person may choke while swallowing the pencil. This can cause symptoms such as repeated coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, or rapid breathing.ChokeChoking is when someone is having a very hard time breathing because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway). A chok...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Sometimes, children will place a piece of a pencil in their nose. This can cause symptoms such as nose pain and drainage, and breathing problems. Infants may become irritable. Home Care Graphite is relatively nonpoisonous. Contact poison control for further information. Before Calling Emergency Have this information ready:The person's age, weight, and condition Name of product (and ingredients and strength, if known) The time it was swallowed The amount swallowed Poison Control Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.Poison control centerFor a POISON EMERGENCY call:1-800-222-1222ANYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATESThis national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. This ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What to Expect at the Emergency Room The health care provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.A procedure may be needed to remove the pencil that is stuck in the airways, stomach, or intestines. Outlook (Prognosis) Recovery is likely.Open ReferencesReferencesHammer AR, Schroeder JW. Foreign bodies in the airway. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 414.Pfau PR, Benson M. Foreign bodies, bezoars, and caustic ingestions. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 28.Thomas SH, Goodloe JM. Foreign bodies. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 53.AllVideoImagesTogRelated Information Review Date: 11/13/2021 Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.