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Nutrients 2017, 9(7), 648; doi:10.3390/nu9070648

A Systematic Review of Fatalities Related to Acute Ingestion of Salt. A Need for Warning Labels?

1
Department of Medicine, Physiology and Pharmacology and Community Health Sciences, O’Brien Institute for Public Health and Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
2
The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Dietary Sodium and Improving Human Health)
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Abstract

There are sporadic cases of fatalities from acutely eating salt. Yet, on social media, there are “challenges to” and examples of children and some adults acutely eating salt, and recently a charity advocated eating small amounts of salt to empathize with Syrian refugees. We performed a systematic review of fatalities from ingesting salt to assess if relatively moderate doses of salt could be fatal. In 27 reports, there were 35 fatalities documented (19 in adults and 16 in children). The lethal dose was estimated to be less than 10 g of sodium (<5 teaspoons of salt) in two children, and less than 25 g sodium in four adults (<4 tablespoons of salt). The frequency of fatal ingestion of salt is not able to be discerned from our review. If investigation of the causes of hypernatremia in hospital records indicates salt overdose is relatively common, consideration could be given to placing warning labels on salt containers and shakers. Such warning labels can have the added advantage of reducing dietary salt consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: salt; sodium; overdose; warning labels; hypertension; hypernatremia salt; sodium; overdose; warning labels; hypertension; hypernatremia
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Campbell, N.R.C.; Train, E.J. A Systematic Review of Fatalities Related to Acute Ingestion of Salt. A Need for Warning Labels? Nutrients 2017, 9, 648.

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