Fertilizers for home plants | University of Maryland Medical Center

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Fertilizers and fertilizers for home plants are substances used to improve the growth of such plants. Poisoning can occur if someone ingests these substances.

Plant fertilizers are slightly toxic if ingested in small doses. Higher doses can be harmful to children. Touching large quantities of these fertilizers can cause serious burns.

This is for informational purposes only and not for use in the treatment or management of a real toxic exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call the local emergency number (such as 911 in the United States) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222- 1222.

Alternative Names

Poison intoxication for home plants; Blotchy coloration of nails, lips or palms

Burning with fertilizer for homegrown forests

  • on the skin
Burning in the throat, nose and eyes Dizziness Fainting Itchy skin > Hypotension Epileptic seizures Difficulty breathing Skin redness Stomach pain

Home Treatment

Seek immediate medical help and DO NOT vomit the person unless

If the chemical has come into contact with the skin or eyes, rinse thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes.

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Before calling the emergency service

Determine the following information:

Patient's age, weight and condition Product name (with ingredients and strength, if known) Time of ingestion Amount ingested

Poison Control Center or local emergency number

You can call the National Center National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 from anywhere in the United States. This free national line will allow you to speak to poisoning experts, who will give you additional instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local toxicology centers in the United States use this number. You should call if you have any concerns about poisoning or how to prevent them. It does not necessarily have to be an emergency; you can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Toxicology Center Emergency Number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The doctor will measure and monitor vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The symptoms will be treated in the appropriate way. You may receive:

Blood tests to diagnose methemoglobinemia Respiratory support, including a breathing tube Intravenous (IV) fluids < (antidote) to neutralize the effect of the drug

p> Your prognosis depends on the amount of poison ingested and the promptness with which treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the greater the chance of recovery.


Belson M. Ammonia and nitrogen oxides. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 97.

Version Info
  • Last reviewed on 2/28/2012
  • Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, ADAM, Inc.

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