Science

Is graphite toxic – Know all about mechanical pencil lead poisoning

There can be quite a few instances near you where you can come across such questions such as is graphite toxic, does it lead to poisoning, its effects on human health, and so on. While it is usual to have such questions, it is vital to know the answers and the reasons behind it. One needs to understand if Graphite is toxic to humans and its potential effects on our health to take immediate action when required. To answer all the frequently asked questions related to graphite and pencil lead poisoning, I will share detailed information in this blog.

Is Graphite dangerous? 

Graphite is primarily made up of Carbon and thus cannot be absorbed in our body. It is not as poisonous as Carbon, but it can also have some harmful effects on our health, just like other things if consumed in excess. Graphite is a minimally toxic element that has the ability to harm your health. Taking it accidentally once in some way or form might not harm you, but swallowing Graphite every now and then can have some serious repercussions.

However, Graphite does come in the list of irritants, and thus, one shouldn’t deliberately consume this element. Some reports have also suggested that if consumed regularly, it can show some side effects. So it is best to stay away from consuming it. 

Is a pencil lead dangerous?

To answer it in a word, it would be no; pencil leads are not dangerous. Many of you would be shocked to know there is actually no lead in the pencil lead. Shocked, right? A lot of manufacturers use a mix of Graphite and clay along with some additives to make the pencil leads. Lead or what is also written represented as “Pb” on the periodic table is toxic to humans and can lead to severe problems. Yet swallowing pencil leads is not desirable, and one shouldn’t consume it either. 

Apart from its side effects, the elements used in making pencil leads containing wood, rubber, paint, and even clay are not desirable for our digestive system either. So Graphite, along with all these elements, can cause some unease. There have been reports regarding children choking on the small broken pieces of pencils, but in general pencil, leads do not cause lead poisoning but can harm your gut if you keep consuming it.

It should also be noted that drawing a lead into the skin or using it for physical damage is also a serious concern regarding pencil leads. Parents and teachers should educate the students regarding the potential risks involved in playing with these pencil leads. 

Mechanical pencil lead poisoning

As mentioned above, pencils do not contain any lead, and hence it cannot harm or cause any symptoms if you have accidentally swallowed a pencil or are stabbed by it. However, in some worst-case scenarios, a person who has ingested these pencil leads can experience a mild stomach ache or feel sick at the max. There have been no reports related to pencil lead poisoning reported so far. However, these leads can be a potential threat to your digestive system. 

Concluding Remarks

So to conclude and burst the common myths related to pencil leads and Graphite, we summarize that:

  • Graphite is not toxic to humans as our bodies cannot absorb it.
  • It, however, can lead to some problems related to the digestive system if consumed frequently.
  • Pencil leads are not made from lead but are made using Graphite, clay, wood, paint, and other plastic polymers.
  • These pencils have more risks when it comes to physical damage and choking hazard.
  • Pencil leads do not cause poisoning, but one shouldn’t swallow it or use it to harm someone either. 

However, if someone has ingested a pencil piece and shows signs of discomfort, immediate actions should be taken, and one should also consult a doctor for the same. 

Janice Powell

I am interested in sharing articles related to Geometry of Molecules. It represents forms of Chemical equation with the help of structured atoms.

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