Advice On Why Cyalume Poisoning In Children Increases At Halloween


Table of Contents

What Is Cyalume And Is It Poisonous

Cyalume is the chemical substance called diphenylanthracene found in glow sticks. Cyalume products are 100% non-toxic. That means they are not poisonous.

Halloween, Birthday parties, and any time people are outdoors at night or in caves spelunking, the use of a Cyalume stick has many advantages. Their glow can be seen for miles, and they come in a range of colours that make them ideal for kid’s parties, raves and discos.

While the contents of a light stick will not taste good, the Cyalume liquid poses no real poison risk. The danger comes from a thin glass ampule inside that breaks when you snap a light stick to activate the two chemicals. However, there is a need to provide First Aid if you believe your child has swallowed the content of a Cyalume stick and ingested any glass shards, as they can cause internal lacerations that require medical attention.

9,10-Diphenylanthracene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. It has the appearance of a slightly yellow powder. 9,10-Diphenylanthracene is used as a sensitiser in chemiluminescence. In light sticks, it is used to produce blue light. It is a molecular organic semiconductor used in blue OLEDs and OLED-based displays.

It is hyper-irritating and bitter when ingested or swallowed. It causes an immediate stinging and burning on the tongue, mouth, and throat. In children, they will start crying. Parents will immediately see the child’s mouth glowing. While not considered a poison per se, it is considered dangerous to young children.

What Chemicals Are In A Glow Stick

The glow stick’s outer plastic tube holds a solution of an oxalate ester and an electron-rich dye, along with a glass vial filled with a hydrogen peroxide solution. The signature snap sound along the tube length starts the chemical reaction by releasing the hydrogen peroxide in an exothermic state.

What Is The Best First Aid For Cyalume Ingestion

These chemicals can sting and burn eyes, irritate and sting the skin, and burn the mouth and throat if ingested. If the chemicals are ingested or spilled in the eyes or on the skin, it is recommended the area is rinsed with water and the local poison control centre contacted. Not so much out of danger to the person who swallowed the content but to record the statistical number of incidents that occur each year. For every one report made, plenty never get reported, so figures are likely higher than the reported statistical data.

Give Them Plenty Of Water To Drink

If your child ate a glow stick but is not having any obvious adverse reactions or symptoms, give them a glass of water and watch for vomiting. If they develop symptoms, call the poison information centre on 131126 or 000 for emergency services as they may be having a rare allergic reaction and require First Aid, leading to CPR if they stop breathing.

Give the child plenty of water to drink, flush the eyes with water for at least ten minutes, and wash off any remaining chemicals on the face, hands, or body.

How Do Cyalume Sticks Work

Chemical reactions that release energy are called exothermic. In exothermic reactions, more energy is released when the bonds are formed in the products that are used to break the bonds in the reactants. Exothermic reactions are accompanied by an increase in the temperature of the reaction mixture. Heat speeds up the chemical reaction that produces the glow. The more heat they are exposed to, the brighter they will glow, but the faster they will fade and go out.

To keep your glow stick going for longer, the trick is to keep putting them in the freezer.

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