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posted on June 06, 2013 15:02

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Date: June 6, 2013

Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693

Hydrocarbons in gasoline, lighter fluid are a leading poisoning risk in summer

Tiki torches, charcoal BBQ pits and lawn mowers aren’t just proof that summer has arrived at last; they’re also sources for one of the leading poisoning risks in the warmer months. All of these items contain hydrocarbons, which are chemicals found in gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, cleaners, and some insecticides. They’re especially dangerous to children. 

Poisonings from hydrocarbons has decreased over the last 10 years because of changes in packaging laws and increased awareness, but deaths still occur, especially at this time of year. Hydrocarbons are among the top 10 causes of poisoning deaths for children in the United States. The Idaho Poison Center receives more than 260 calls each year from people in Idaho seeking help with hydrocarbon-related poisonings; of these, more than 80 calls are for exposures to gasoline alone.  

A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that most hydrocarbon-related incidents occurred to children who were 1 to 2 years old.  Some of the packaging is similar to juice and sports drinks – and it has resulted in tragic accidents.

To reduce exposure and poisoning risks to hydrocarbons, the Idaho’s Poison Center and the Idaho Injury Program offers these tips: 

  • Keep children in the car when refueling at gas stations.
  • Store all products that contain hydrocarbons out of sight and out of reach of children.
  • Always store these products in their original containers and away from food.
  • Adults should always supervise children at cookouts where tiki torches are being used.
  • Fill lawn mowers and then safely store your gas container before doing the yard.
  • Don’t siphon gasoline by using your mouth to start the flow.
  • If products containing hydrocarbons are ingested or splashed onto skin or eyes, call the Idaho Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.