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Silica gel is a drying agent, meant to remove moisture from an enclosed space. Silica gel packs may be found in boxes containing electronics or new shoes and inside purses or medicine bottles. The packets contain either granular silicic acid, which resembles sand, or tiny gel beads. Silica gel is non-toxic, meaning that it is not poisonous if eaten. The package says "DO NOT EAT" because (1) it is not food, and (2) it could be a choking hazard. The whole packet, granules, or beads may become lodged in the throat of a small child or animal.
Tips to remember for silica gel safety:
- When bringing new items such as shoes, purses, or electronics into the house, look for silica gel packets and throw them away immediately.
- Before disposing of a silica gel packet, break it open, so it cannot be swallowed whole.
For questions about silica gel call Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.