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January 1990

Perfumes Possibly Perilous to Pediatric Patients

Author Affiliations

Department of Endocrinology Children's Memorial Hospital Chicago, IL 60614

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(1):15. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150250017008

Sir.—The article by Scherger et al1 in the June 1988 issue of AJDC concludes that "asymptomatic children who ingest by history less than 105 mL of an ethanol-containing cologne, perfume, or after-shave can safely be observed at home." This recommendation is based on finding no significant toxic effects in children less than 6 years of age who by history ingested up to 105 mL of 50% to 90% ethanol. This recommendation is at best misleading and at worst dangerous. The question of whether a 12-month-old child can safely ingest 105 mL of 90% ethanol is not answered by this study. The authors quote the lethal dose of ethanol in children as 3 g/kg. Since the specific gravity of ethanol is 0.79, the lethal dose is 3.8 mL/kg of absolute ethanol. Thus, in a 10-kg, 12-month-old child, the lethal dose of a perfume containing 90% ethanol would be 42.2