Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Camphor, Found In Some Pest Control Products, May Cause Seizures In Children

Date:
May 7, 2009
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
Inappropriate use of camphor-containing products may be a common and under-appreciated cause of seizures in young children, according to a new study. The study calls for efforts to educate communities about the hazards of camphor and to crack down on illegally marketed camphor products.

Inappropriate use of camphor-containing products may be a common and underappreciated cause of seizures in young children, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The study, published in this month's issue of Pediatrics, calls for efforts to educate communities about the hazards of camphor and to crack down on illegally marketed camphor products.

Camphor—a naturally occurring waxy substance with a strong, aromatic odor—is found in many consumer products. Scientists have known for some time that camphor can cause serious health problems, including seizures.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of camphor, which is easily absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes. As a result, the FDA limits the camphor content of common cold preparations, and federal and New York City regulations require that camphor-containing products be properly labeled.

Nevertheless, camphor products without proper or complete labeling are widely available and commonly used for medicinal, spiritual and aromatic purposes and for pest control, especially in the Hispanic community.

The Einstein researchers report on three cases of camphor-associated seizures in children seen in the emergency department of a single New York City hospital─Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx─over a two-week period.

In the first case, a 15-month-old Hispanic boy accidentally ingested camphor cubes that his parents were using to ward off evil spirits. In the second case, a 22-month-old Hispanic boy ate a camphor-containing product that was placed around his apartment to control roaches. In the third case, a three-year-old Hispanic girl had been heavily exposed to numerous camphor-containing products, including crushed tablets spread around the house to control roaches and an ointment that her mother had rubbed on her skin hourly for 10 hours before her seizures began. (Interestingly, this girl and two of her siblings had a history of seizures that may have been due to previous camphor exposure.)

All three children received drug treatment to terminate their seizures, and their parents were advised to stop using all camphor-containing products. The children were all seizure-free when followed up 10 weeks later.

"With the exception of the first case, the information about camphor exposure became apparent only after we directly questioned the parents," said study leader Hnin Khine, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics at both Einstein and Children's Hospital at Montefiore, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein.

These cases highlight the toxicity associated with camphor usage in the community and indicate that inappropriate use of illegally sold camphor products is an important public health issue, Dr. Khine says. "We believe that steps are needed to educate the communities about the hazards of using camphor-containing products and to stop them from being illegally sold."

In addition to Dr. Khine, other contributors were Jeffrey Avner, M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics at Einstein and chief of emergency pediatric medicine at Montefiore; Nora Esteban-Cruciani, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Einstein; and Don Weiss, M.D., M.P.H., Nathan Graber, M.D., M.P.H., and Robert S. Hoffman, M.D., all of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Khine et al. A Cluster of Children With Seizures Caused by Camphor Poisoning. Pediatrics, 2009; 123 (5): 1269 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2097

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Camphor, Found In Some Pest Control Products, May Cause Seizures In Children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121202.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2009, May 7). Camphor, Found In Some Pest Control Products, May Cause Seizures In Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121202.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Camphor, Found In Some Pest Control Products, May Cause Seizures In Children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090506121202.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins