Warning: Harmful or Fatal if Swallowed

Yesterday I heard about a friend that had this product recommended to them by a pharmacist to help them with getting her to stop sucking her thumb. The parents applied it and she ended up throwing up. She is a little younger than Elijah.
As someone who sucked their thumb until I was 7 and chewed my nails until October of last year, my mom had bought products like this to get me to stop sucking my thumb and biting my nails. As a very persistent child, they never worked and I “ate” my way through these products to get to my thumb/nails.

Reading the label, it is a product marketed as a deterrent for nail biting, but it also mentions it can help with thumb sucking. When you get to ingredients it contains several chemicals, none of which I am familiar with. Remember that there are over 80,000 chemicals in the marketplace and 80% have never been tested for safety.

I chose one of the ingredients to look up, phthalic anhidride, and learned it causes a large amount of concern when it’s used in a product that is going into a child’s mouth. This colorless solid is an important industrial chemical, especially for the large-scale production of plasticizers for plastics. Phthalates are known hormone disruptors.

According to the safety info on this ingredient, “the most probable human exposure to phthalic anhydride is through skin contact or inhalation during manufacture or use. Studies show that exposure to phthalic anhydride can cause rhinitis, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. Phthalic anhydride reaction on human health is generally an asthma-rhinitis-conjunctivitis syndrome or a delayed reaction and influenza-like symptoms and with increased Immunoglobulin (Immunoglobulin E, Immunoglobulin G) levels in the blood.”

The warning label on the product is probably what makes me the most angry. It is a product that clearly states that it is to lessen thumb sucking which means for children.

WARNING: Flammable. Keep from Heat and Flame. Do Not Ingest. Harmful Or Fatal If Swallowed. If Ingested, Do Not Induce Vomiting. Immediately Call Local Poison Control Center and Seek Emergency Treatment. Keep Out of Reach of Children. Discontinue Product Use If Irritation, Redness Or Discomfort Occurs.

How is this ok? It’s not! We should be able to trust that something a pharmacist recommends for our children to use to stop sucking their thumb is safe. We shouldn’t have to find these warnings on a product like this.

Info on Phthalic Anhydride





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