JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Retrospective analysis of ingestions of iron containing products in the united states: are there differences between chewable vitamins and adult preparations?

Iron is the one of the leading causes of pediatric poisoning deaths in the United States. Most cases of serious iron overdose reported in the medical literature have resulted from adult formulations of iron. To begin evaluating the possibility that differences in toxicity exist between iron preparations, we performed a retrospective evaluation of all exposures to pediatric and adult iron products reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers' (AAPCC) Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (TESS) from 1983 to 1998. We attempted to determine the incidence of fatal iron poisoning for each group. A total of 195,780 ingestions of children's vitamins containing iron were reported to the TESS between 1983 and 1998 with no resulting fatalities. During the same twelve-year study period, 147,079 exposures to adult forms of iron were reported with 60 fatalities (p < 0.0001). A prospective study is required to assess whether differences may exist in the toxicity of these two iron preparations.

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