Calcium carbide poisoning via food in childhood.J Emerg Med 2007; 32(2):179-80JE
The fast ripening of fruits means they may contain various harmful properties. A commonly used agent in the ripening process is calcium carbide, a material most commonly used for welding purposes. Calcium carbide treatment of food is extremely hazardous because it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorous. Once dissolved in water, the carbide produces acetylene gas. Acetylene gas may affect the neurological system by inducing prolonged hypoxia. The findings are headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral edema and seizures. We report the case of a previously healthy 5 year-old girl with no chronic disease history who was transferred to our Emergency Department with an 8-h history of coma and delirium. A careful history from her father revealed that the patient ate unripe dates treated with calcium carbide.