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Silica gel is a drying agent, meant to remove humidity from an enclosed space. You might find silica gel packs in boxes of new shoes, purses, or medicine bottles. The gels are a form of silicic acid, which is similar to sand.
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 packet or gels may easily become lodged in the throat of a small child or animal.
Tips to remember for silica gel safety:
- When bringing a pair of new shoes or a purse into the house, look for the silica gel packet inside and throw it away immediately.
- Remember to look for multiple packets as they often come two or three at a time.
- The best way to dispose of a silica gel packet is to break it open and discard, so it may not be swallowed whole.
For questions about silica gel or for more information, call Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.