Skip to content
A - Z Ind e x

Poison Center Helpline 1-800-222-1222

Not sure what to do? Have an urgent question?

If your child is having symptoms or you don't know the exact substance or amount swallowed, call the Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. This call is free and confidential.

Call Now

My Child Ate Pencil Lead

pencil lead
Pencil Lead is Usually Nontoxic .

Pencils are made with graphite, not actual lead. If your child ate pencil lead, give them a few sips of water and watch for symptoms.

What to know: Pencil Lead

  • Pencil lead is also commonly known as graphite.
  • Pencil lead can be a choking hazard. If your child is choking on a piece of pencil lead, call 911 immediately.

Toxicity Level

What are toxicity levels?

My child ate pencil lead. Is pencil lead toxic?

Pencils aren’t actually made with lead at all. They are made with graphite. Graphite is minimally toxic when swallowed or used to draw on the skin. Pencils do not contain the metal lead at all.

If a pencil tip breaks or punctures the skin, call IPC at 1-800-222-1222 or the child’s pediatrician for medical advice regarding the injury. This call is free and confidential.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Eating graphite or pencil material is unlikely to cause any symptoms. If your child ate pencil lead, give them a few sips of water. Any skin stains should wash off with soap and water.

If your child begins vomiting, call IPC at 1-800-222-1222.

Eye Exposure

  • If your child got pencil lead residue in their eyes, rinse by pouring clean, lukewarm water across the affected eye(s) for 15 minutes.

For more instructions, please see our page on eye exposure information.

Have an urgent question or need more help?

Don't hesitate to call IPC at


This call is free and confidential.

Poison Center HelplineCalls are free and confidential.

  1. In Case of Emergency

    Call 911 if someone is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing.

  2. Remain Calm

    Most poison emergencies can be resolved quickly over the phone.

  3. Call the Helpline

    Call 1-800-222-1222 if you are concerned that you or someone else has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance.