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Pencil erasers

A pencil eraser is a piece of rubber attached to the end of a pencil. This article discusses the health problems that may occur if someone swallows an eraser.

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 your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison 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

Pencil erasers contain a type of rubber. They are often not harmful.

Where Found

Pencil erasers

Symptoms

Swallowing a pencil eraser may lead to an intestinal blockage, which can cause abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • The person's age, weight, and condition
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison 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 number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

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

An emergency room visit may not be needed. If you are told to go to the hospital, your symptoms will be treated as appropriate.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Since pencil erasers are considered fairly nonpoisonous, recovery is likely.

References

Zosel AE. General approach to the poisoned patient. In: Adams JG, ed. Emergency Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 143.

Update Date 11/4/2015

Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.