Acute chemical ingestion in the under 19 population in South Korea: A brief report

Jae Hee Lee, Duk Hee Lee

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Background Most people are frequently exposed to chemicals and chemical products. This study provides basic information on the outcomes of acute chemical ingestion of patients aged under 19 years. Methods Patients aged under 19 years who had ingested chemicals and thus visited the emergency department between January 2011 and December 2016 were included in this study. Results In all, 1,247 patients included (1,145 in the unintentional group and 102 in the intentional group). The mean age was 3.27±4.77 in the unintentional ingestion group and 16.49±1.94 in the intentional group. In the unintentional group, detergents were most frequently ingested (by 219 patients), followed by hypochlorite-based agents, ethanol, sodium hydroxide, acetone, silica gel, and citric acid. Cases of boric acid (odds ratio [OR] = 6.131), ethylene glycol (OR = 6.541), glacial acetic acid (OR = 7.644), other hydrocarbons (OR = 4.496), hypochlorite-based agent (OR = 2.627), nicotine (OR = 5.635), and sodium peroxocarbonate (OR = 6.783) ingestion was associated with a significantly high admission rate. In the intentional group, there were 54 cases of ingestion of hypochlorite-based agent, followed by detergent, ethylene glycol, ethanol, methanol and sodium peroxycarbonate. The significant risk factors for admission in the intentional group were ingestion of ethylene glycol (OR = 37.333) and hypochlorite-based agent (OR = 5.026). There was no mortality case. Conclusion The most commonly ingested substances were sodium hypochlorite (hypochlorite-related agent), surfactants (detergent and soap), and ethanol. The ingestion of hypochlorite or ethylene glycol was the main risk factor for admission. Intentional ingestion was higher in adolescents than in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242430
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2020 Lee, Lee. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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