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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993 Nov;109(5):821-5.

Ingestion of caustic cosmetic products.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine.


Twelve children over a 6-year period (1985 to 1991) underwent aerodigestive tract endoscopy after ingestion of lye-containing cosmetic products. All children were less than 2 years of age and had facial and/or oral cavity burns. Eleven of these patients ingested alkaline hair products such as "activators" or "relaxers." Endoscopy revealed pharyngeal burns in five patients but no laryngeal or esophageal burns in any patient. Erythema of the esophageal mucosa was seen in one patient. One patient ingested a solution used in fingernail decorating. This patient sustained extensive superficial burns of the pharynx, larynx, and esophagus and required intubation and admission to the intensive care unit. No long-term sequelae developed. Cosmetic products containing caustic chemicals represent a significant health risk to small children, especially because child-proof packaging is not standard for these products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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