What happens if you accidentally swallow a moisturizing gel (silica gel) that has been warned as "not to eat"?
According to Howstuffworks, what you accidentally swallow from a moisture-proof package may be silica gel or some other desiccant - these are compounds that absorb and retain water. These small packages are found in all types of products to help ensure quality.
Transported goods may be affected by climatic and temperature conditions. Increased humidity may cause partial or total damage to the product. For example, if a bottle of vitamin contains moisture and is quickly cooled, the condensed moisture will damage the tablets. You will find small silica gel packs in any product container that is at risk of moisture damage.
The only job of these small desiccants is to absorb moisture.
Silica gel can absorb moisture about 40% of its weight and can reduce the relative humidity in containers by 40%. After the gel is saturated, you can remove the moisture and reuse the silica gel by heating it above 300 degrees Fahrenheit (about 150 degrees Celsius).
Silica gel is almost harmless, and that is why you find it in food products. Silica, actually silicon dioxide (SiO 2 ), is the same material found in quartz. The gel form contains millions of tiny pores like pores that can absorb and retain moisture.
Silica gel has been around since the 1600s, however, it was hardly used, until its hydrophilic properties were utilized to give the gas masks used during World War I.
Silica gel can absorb a lot of water, about 1/3 of its weight without having to undergo any chemical reaction or change in shape. Even when they are saturated, the particles remain dry when touched and can be reused after heating at 121 ° C for 2 hours. This feature makes silica gel particularly useful in controlling water vapor and moisture, which during the war was used to keep drugs, military equipment and supplies dry.
Although Silica gel is almost harmless, it will be a rather uncomfortable experience when trying to eat silica crystals. The only job of these small desiccants is to absorb moisture. If you pour a pack into your mouth, moisture will be pushed out of the sides and the palate, your gums and tongue will feel as dry as dehydration . After removing the material from the mouth, you may continue to face some symptoms such as: dry eyes, dry throat; If worse, the mucosa and nasal cavity is also dry, the stomach will feel uncomfortable.
So how many packets of silica are needed to absorb all the water from someone's body? Take, for example, a 95kg man. We know that 70 percent of the human body is made up of water - 70 percent of 95kg is about 66.6kg. We also know that silica gel can absorb moisture equivalent to about 40% of its weight. Thus, we need 166.69 kg of silica gel to absorb 66.6 kg of water. Because a package of silica gel weighs 2.8 grams, a man weighing about 95kg will have to consume 58,800 packs of silica gel if he wants it to absorb all the water in his body.
Silica gels are not completely dangerous, but they are not safe either
So why is there a 'don't eat' warning on a moisture-proof package? In fact, silica gel is not completely dangerous, but they are not safe either.
The problem is that moisture packs are often added with an additive called Cobalt Chloride II . This is an added substance that makes it easy to observe the moisture absorption signals of silica gel particles, which helps them to turn green when dry and turn pink when they absorb moisture. Cobalt Chloride II is a substance that can be harmful to humans and even suspected to cause cancer.
Another reason not to eat a moisture-proof package is that you don't know what silica gel has come into contact with in its surroundings, as the silica gel can also absorb other filthy things in it. During production or transportation, even silica gel can sometimes absorb even a small amount of fungicide or pesticide.
In short, eating a moisture-proof pack is not a very serious problem that can kill you right away, but obviously eating a moisture-proof pack is a bad idea and should not be done.