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Can You Get Lead Poisoning From A Pencil?

We get a fair number of people coming to this blog for the answer to that one, so we thought we'd address it briefly.

The answer is, 'No.' Not possible...not even from a whole box of pencils.

Why not? Because there is no lead in a pencil.

Yes, it is called 'pencil lead' but what it really is is graphite, a totally different substance from lead. Graphite is not a metal, but a mineral formed from carbon.

The graphite used in pencils is more or less harmless, as the New York Times explains.

So, getting stabbed with a bit of pencil lead, or swallowing some, is not going to give you lead poisoning. Of course, there would still be a hole in you from the stabbing, and swallowing bits of wood and other foreign material is a choking hazard, as well as a threat to your digestion.

Probably best just to use your pencil for writing.

(On a related note, you also cannot get ink poisoning from a pen.)

One thought on “Can You Get Lead Poisoning From A Pencil?”

  • leanne

    I have a student that actually eats about 1/2 a pencil everyday. Are there any ill effects from consuming THIS MUCH !!?

    Reply
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