Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Toxicology Tuesday, June 26

You guys are too good at this game, so this week's question is one you may not have considered before. See if you are up for the challenge.

Toxic or Not?

Answer: Not toxic.

Silica gel packets found in shoe boxes or Sorb-It cans of silica gel found in pill bottles are there are adsorbents, in order to adsorb moisture and protect the product from spoilage. They are generally considered to be non-toxic. If ingested, silica gel would only cause a mild GI upset, which would most likely resolve without treatment. There is a slight possibility of GI obstruction if a small pet were to eat a large volume of the material. Watch for vomiting and call your vet if this occurs.

[Source: ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, in their news bulletin April 21, 2006]


Lynne said...

I believe I remeber that silica is carcinogenic.

Mary C said...

Toxic - even the packages are labeled for humans not to consume.

Lisa said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and say not *toxic*, per se, but bad for pets because of the potential for it to absorb moisture in the GI tract and cause intestinal blockage.

littleorangeguy said...

Methinks it is at the very least not good for anyone since it says "do not eat" -- but could you line a litter box with it?

KGMom said...

Hmmmm-the package says "do not eat" so I am thinking NOTHING should eat the silica packs.

nina said...

I remember once reading the content label of a kitty-litter "bead" product that said, "does not contain silica"--so my guess is there must be something not good about it.
Is that sound logic?

Susan Gets Native said...

I was going to refrain this week's Toxicology Tuesday, but I have to agree with Lisa...it's not toxic, as in poisonous, but it can give them gastro upset.

Mary said...

I guess if the packages say "do not eat", they might be toxic for humans or animals. Not sure on this one.

KatDoc said...

Oh, good - I got you all scratching your heads and thinking about this one. Everyone is a little bit right: The packets are labeled "Do not eat," and silica gel is NOT meant for consumption. Those labels are there, however, for the people who would try to iron their clothes while wearing them or use a blowdryer while asleep - in other words, they are legal disclaimers for the least common denominator among us.

Lynne is right about silicates in a dust or powder form being associated with lung disease like silicosis or lung cancer. When you put "silica" and "silicosis" in a search engine, most of your hits are lawyers' offices.

Silica gel is formulated so that it is not aerosolized, and is enclosed in little packages that allow moisture in but not the silica out, so I don't think lung disease is an issue. Plus, it takes years of exposure, not once or twice, for pulmonary disease to develop from silica dust.

There are silica gel forms of cat litter. I have not tried them, but one would presume they were tested for safety. If they were dusty, I might be worried about a cat's lungs.

Eating the stuff, whether in the small sachets or canisters, or as cat litter, isn't poisonous, but large volumes in small pets could cause GI blockage. Lisa and Susan were the winners this week.

If you are fascinated by silica gel, I actually found a web site devoted to the stuff: www.silicagel.tk for more information.

Good one, everybody!