Iron-containing products remain a continuing toxicologic hazard to children. In the 1987 report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Data Collection System, 17,145 cases of acute iron ingestion had been reported to 63 participating regional poison centers involved in data collection. Data gathered by the statewide Arizona Poison Control System show ferrous sulfate tablets and vitamins containing iron remain among the top ten substances ingested by children younger than 5 years of age. Widespread availability, the large number of tablets prescribed, a failure of parents and the general public to recognize the potential lethality of iron intoxication, and the failure of safety closures have all been suggested as contributors to the continuing risk of accidental ingestion of these products. 2 Despite the frequency of iron intoxication and the many articles suggesting various therapies for iron intoxication, the management and determination of severity during acute iron poisoning remains, for clinicians, an area of confusion and much controversy.
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