Accidental Poisoning: Five True Stories of Toxic Mix-Ups

IMAGE: Slip-ups That Led to Poison: 5 True Stories

Bleach, glue, fuel, arsenic and glass cleaner obviously are not food. But if you think a 30-year-old can always tell the difference better than a 2-year-old, think again.

A string of poisoning cases among adults have hit the news in recent years. Poison experts say many adult poisonings are the result of mixing up medicines or illiteracy.

But the most poignant and deadly examples of late have been the results of accidental mix-ups of products in the home.

Whether the cause is the overbearing stress of the times, the environmental-friendly habit of reusing containers, or trendy drinks that look like they could glow in the dark -- poison experts can only offer tips to avoid all-too-easy errors.

Below are some of the most recent examples of everyday accidents that have led to dangerous poisonings, along with expert advice on how to prevent them in your home.

Funny, Those Eye Drops Look Like My Nail Glue

The day after April Fools' Day this year, a 29-year-old woman in England woke up and stumbled into her bathroom looking for some eye drops.

She squirted liquid from a small dropper bottle into her eyes and immediately knew something was wrong, according to reporting by the Telegraph. Paula Griffin had grabbed highly toxic nail glue that binds to skin in seconds.

"I managed to stop it hitting the center of the eye, and doctors told me later that it saved me from permanent damage," Griffin told the Telegraph. "It was agonizing. It was burning so much it was my natural instinct to shut my eye."

Griffin sat through eight hours of having her eye glued shut before a medical team could separate her lids. So far, she has no permanent damage to her vision and a tale to tell.

Yet, poison experts said the scenario isn't so uncommon.

"They come in small containers with tiny eye droppers or spigots at the end that can look like the same kind of eye droppers that you find in the pharmacy," said Edward P. Krenzelok, a toxicologist and professor of pharmacy and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh. "That [nail glue] can bond your eyelids together."

Krenzelok's advice?

"Never, ever, ever try to separate those eyelids," he said.

Krenzelok recommended a doctor can separate the eyelids later and that a panicked attempt to separate them yourself can do a lot of damage.

Griffin's case might be the classic example for Krenzelok's first rule of thumb in poison prevention: Always read the label.

"Put your glasses on and read the labels," he said.

But in some situations, like outside in the dark, reading the labels can be very difficult.

Mistaking Tiki Torch Oil for Apple Juice

Grabbing groceries for a cookout, and then grabbing containers at dusk in the backyard, often goes on without a hitch. But last summer an attractive-looking brand of "tiki" lamp oil ended up poisoning people across the United States.

New Jersey officials issued a warning last July after six people drank the oil, mistaking the jug-sized container and yellow liquid for apple juice, according to reports by the Associated Press. One elderly woman died last summer, and an 8-year-old child suffered permanent lung damage from consuming the toxic fuel.

Poison control centers at the time did a national survey and found 70 people had been poisoned by the fuel-apple juice lookalike, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

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