WARNING: The list you are about to read contains some pretty nasty stuff, so if you’re currently eating your breakfast, feeling a little squeamish, or if you’ve always been faint of heart, you might want to think twice before reading about the 25 most unbelievable non-food items consumed by human beings.
Remember that kid who always ate paint in elementary school? Well, chances are he’s probably not the brightest crayon in the box these days. That’s because ingesting paint can cause lead poisoning, which can lead to irreversible brain damage and slow physical and mental development in children. In all seriousness, eating paint or paint chips can adversely affect both children and adults and even lead to death in serious cases.
As a nursing major, Florida native Tempestt should’ve known better than to eat soap. The 19-year-old started eating as many as five bars of soap a week during a stressful time in her life, ignoring both the warning labels and her medical knowledge just to get her fix. However, she experienced a change of heart, sought help for her addiction, and hasn’t eaten soap ever since. Ironically, she’s never been cleaner.
A 22-year-old woman named Krystin used to lick chalk as a child, but her craving for it soon led her to secretly ingest it. When she recently revealed her secret addiction to family and friends, she asked them if they would try it. None of them liked it. Go figure.
Attention from the media was not the only thing a Portland family attracted when they rushed their toddler to the emergency room. The little girl, who had been experiencing severe stomach pain, swallowed 37 “Buckyball” magnets that tore three holes in her lower intestine and one in her stomach. When doctors initially examined the x-ray, they thought she had ingested a bracelet, but it was actually the magnets that had formed a ring in the girl’s stomach.
Whether unintentionally or on purpose, more than 3,500 Americans swallow batteries each year. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as renal failure should the mercury within the battery escape into the bloodstream. If left in the stomach for too long, gastric acids will eventually corrode the battery’s outer layer and cause mercury poisoning. Due to the large number of illnesses caused by battery ingestion, they are now designed to be more acid resistant.
The drinking of urine, also known as urophagia, has been around since ancient times when people did it for various health, healing, and cosmetic purposes. These days, it seems like only Bear Grylls from “Man vs. Wild” actually partakes in this bizarre ritual. While some sources claim that urine can be consumed for survival purposes in the absence of any other fluids, numerous credible sources (including the US Army Field Manual) advise against it.
An Ohio man named Josh read a book about glass eating and decided to try it himself. In just four years, he has consumed more than 250 light bulbs and 100 wine and champagne glasses. He says he enjoys ingesting it because it gives him a “warm feeling,” but admits that he is more addicted to the attention he receives for eating glass than the act itself.
A woman featured on the TLC show “My Strange Addiction” confessed she eats half a roll of toilet paper a day. She said she enjoys the way it feels when it touches her tongue and even snacks on it at the movies instead of popcorn.
One 35-year-old woman found herself becoming unusually attracted to the scent of dryer sheets. She couldn’t resist the urge to bite into one of the sweet-smelling sheets and soon started to eat them on a regular basis. These days she consumes as many as eight per day and claims to suffer from withdrawals if she doesn’t get her fix because eating them helps her relieve stress. However, the chemicals that give the sheets their fragrant scent are terrible for her health. On the bright side, her insides must smell fabulous.
A woman named Crystal has been eating glass cleaner up to 10 times a day for more than 30 years. The scent of the cleaner made her mouth water as a child, so she decided to taste it. She says the substance’s grainy texture “satisfying.”
A woman named Bianca began eating pottery as a child, but her desire to ingest non-food items soon expanded to an even less appealing substance – cigarette ashes. She claims she became addicted to them because they taste “salty” and “gritty.” Because she does not smoke, Bianca relies on her older sister’s cigarette ashes to feed her addiction.
A Florida woman named Adele has discovered the ultimate comfort food – couch cushions. In her lifetime, she has eaten over 200 pounds of the fluffy stuff, which means she has ingested enough cushioning to stuff seven couches and two chairs.
An Ethiopian man ate an assortment of metal objects weighing in at more than 1.6 pounds. Nails, keys, batteries, and door keys were found among the objects the man had swallowed over the course of two years. Miraculously, none of the nails perforated his internal organs and his surgery was a success.
For most people, mothballs conjure up images of grandma’s winter sweaters. However, mothballs have been known to provide a narcotic effect if misused. Naphthalene, one of the active ingredients, can cause harm if inhaled or ingested and can be especially dangerous for children who mistake mothballs for candy.