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 you swallow an eraser.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Pencil erasers contain a type of rubber. They are usually not harmful.
Swallowing a pencil eraser may lead to an intestinal blockage, which can cause abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting.
Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
The person's age, weight, and condition
Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength, if known)
The time it was swallowed
The amount swallowed
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called 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.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
An emergency room visit may not be needed. If you are told to go to the hospital, your symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
Since pencil erasers are considered relatively nonpoisonous, recovery is likely.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.