Potassium carbonate

Poisoning from an overdose of potassium carbonate.

Poisonous Ingredient 
Potassium carbonate

Where Found 

  • Some home permanent-wave solutions  
  • Some soft soaps  
  • Some dishwasher soaps  
  • Glass

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Body as a whole       o Severe pain in the mouth       o Collapse  
  • Breathing difficulties due to swelling of the throat  
  • Severe pain in the throat  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Severe Abdominal pain       o diarrhea  
  • Rapid drop in blood pressure

Home Treatment 


If on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If swallowed, give water or milk IMMEDIATELY. If the patient is Vomiting, continue giving water or milk.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • The patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • The time it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 

The Poison Control or local emergency telephone representative will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. The national Poison Control hotline can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.
Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • For swallowed poison       o Administration of fluids       o Administration of an antidote       o Endoscopy       o Treatment of symptoms  
  • For inhalation       o Administration of supplemental oxygen       o Treatment of symptoms

Expectations (prognosis) 

The probable outcome depends on how corrosive the ingested product was and how rapidly it was diluted and neutralized. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible. The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage.

Damage continues to occur in the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the agent was swallowed. Death may occur as long as a month after the product was swallowed.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, 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.