Alternative names 
Pencil lead

This poisoning is caused by ingestion of regular pencil lead.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Carbon  
  • Graphite

Where Found

  • Regular pencils

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Gastrointestinal       o Stomach ache       o Vomiting

Note: There may be no symptoms.

Home Treatment
Graphite is relatively nontoxic. Contact Poison Control for further information.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • The patient’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

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the person to the hospital. If it is necessary, bring a pencil sample with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed on the patient:

  • Observe the patient.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)
Since this chemical is normally nontoxic, recovery is likely.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.