March 19, 1997

Poisoning Hazards of Glass Candle Lamps

Author Affiliations

Illinois Poison Center Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1997;277(11):885. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540350035028

To the Editor.  —Fuels for glass candle lamps are liquid aliphatic hydrocarbons typically labeled petroleum distillates or paraffinic hydrocarbons. The major toxicity resulting from ingestion of these products is chemical pneumonitis secondary to aspiration of these low-viscosity hydrocarbons.1,2 These liquid fuels are available in attractive colors, some are pleasantly scented, and when purchased and stored, they are packaged in child-resistant containers with safety caps and are labeled with prominent warnings (ie, "Harmful or Fatal if Swallowed"). However, the chance of unintentional poisoning from these liquid fuels is dramatically increased when they are transferred into glass candle lamps and placed in easily accessible areas such as low shelves or table tops. We demonstrate the potential risk of unintentional poisoning to children posed by liquid hydrocarbon fuels specifically stored in glass candle lamps.From November 1994 through June 1996, the Illinois Poison Center collected from Northeastern Illinois 21 cases of pediatric