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Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008 Nov;46(9):785-9. doi: 10.1080/15563650802172071.

Acute arsenic trioxide ant bait ingestion by toddlers.

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  • 1Oregon Health and Sciences University, Oregon Poison Center, Portland, OR, USA.



Arsenic trioxide is available for home use in ant baits. Potential arsenic toxicity from unintentional pediatric ingestion is not well studied. The goal of this study is to describe the clinical course and urinary arsenic concentrations of children who ingested ant bait containing arsenic trioxide (0.46%).


This is a case series of pre-school children who unintentionally ingested arsenic trioxide ant bait gel bars in the home reported to two U.S. poison control centers from January 2003 to July 2007.


Six children (age range, 8 months to 4 years) ingested varying portions of ant bait gel bars containing arsenic trioxide (0.46%). All vomited shortly after exposure. The initial, pre-chelation urine total arsenic concentrations ranged from 1,858 to 13,981 mcg/L. All children had resolution of symptoms and received chelation with succimer. Follow-up urine arsenic concentrations were in the normal range 14-35 days after chelation and no further clinical toxicity was noted.


Children who ingest all or part of a household ant bait gel bar that contains relatively low concentration of arsenic trioxide can develop markedly elevated urine arsenic concentrations with minor initial symptoms. Prompt chelation with succimer is recommended for children with these exposures and continued until urine arsenic concentrations are normal.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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