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    Is eating slate pencils harmful?

Posted on Fri, 27 May 2016 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: Is eating slate pencils harmful? I'm a 20 year old girl and I've been eating since almost 8 years now.
Answered by Dr. Sandip Kabra 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes,may be harmful but when taken in excessive amount.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome to HCM.

Slate pencils contains calcium carbonate and it may be harmful when it is taken in excessive amount,then it may cause stone formation in kidneys.

The continuous craving for eating inedible substances (like chalk, slate pencils etc) is known as Pica.

It is one of the features of Iron deficiency anemia.

So,I would suggest you to go for some blood investigations like complete blood count & peripheral blood smear which will be helpful in clinching the diagnosis.

Based on the reports, we will be able to plan further management.

It will include administration of supplemental Iron,calcium (tab.shelcal) & Folic acid preparations.

There might be associated factors like hookworm infection which needs to be managed with Albendazole preparations (tab.albendazole 400 mg to be takenonce only as a deworming)

Also you should take a healthy balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables.

You may consult some local physician for proper clinical evaluation by above mentioned tests.

Hope this helps.


Dr.Sandip kabra
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
Follow up: Dr. Sandip Kabra 19 minutes later
I have recently got it examined and have been diagnosed anaemic and with less iron percentage and already started using medicines for iron deficiency I'm just not able to reduce the craving to eat slate pencils and trying really hard to stop eating. Please help to reduce the craving.
Answered by Dr. Sandip Kabra 26 minutes later
Brief Answer:
drugs like SSRIs or behavior therapy will be helpful.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for uploading reports.

I can understand the distress caused by your problem of craving for slate pencils since long time

Since you suffering from Pica which is here because of nutritional deficiency like iron deficiency anemia, we may expect to see improvement as your iron deficiency anemia will be corrected.,

However,it can also occur as a part of impulse control disorder.

Eating slate pencils is definitely not healthy and can also cause some gastrointestinal problem later on.

You will need to be treated by drugs like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or behavior therapy (habit reversal therapy specifically) which will be helpful.

So,I would advise you to go ahead and see a psychiatrist who will know about it.

Behavior therapy generally offers better results than drugs,you should go for it.


Dr.Sandip Kabra
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Naveen Kumar
Answered by
Dr. Sandip Kabra

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 3078 Questions


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