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Is Elmer’s Glue Toxic?

By October 6, 2022December 29th, 2022Education, Elmer's Glue, Health & Safety
a curious young girl holding a glue stick and touching it with her finger

Different kinds of Elmer’s glue can be found on school supplies lists as well as in the classroom for a variety of educational activities and arts and crafts. If you are a teacher or are frequently with kids who get curious when they have glue in their possession, it won’t harm them too much if they taste it. Elmer’s glue is a great choice for glue, especially for kids and school-aged children to use. Most of the varieties are non-toxic, meaning that if someone ingests it, they will most likely be okay and only experience mild symptoms such as a stomachache. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common symptoms, as it is the body’s way of getting rid of foreign substances that are not recognizable by the digestive system.

How is Elmer’s glue non-toxic?

Due to the chemical makeup of Elmer’s glue, it is not toxic if you get it on clothing, carpet, or any other surface than what it is meant to be used on. Most Elmer’s glue isn’t waterproof, making it pretty easy to remove from most surfaces. The reason why Elmer’s glue is non-toxic is because it doesn’t have acid in its chemical makeup. Most other types of glue have acid in them, making them more toxic if they are ingested. While it’s still not recommended that you eat Elmer’s glue, it is safer to eat Elmer’s glue compared to other types of glue.

Is Elmer’s glue edible?

The short answer is no. Elmer’s glue is not edible, even though it is made up of mostly non-toxic ingredients and looks like milk. The long answer is that if it is accidentally ingested in a very small amount, it is okay and won’t cause too much harm. You shouldn’t eat Elmer’s glue just because of the harmless ingredients, though eating large amounts of it could be fatal if you don’t get medical help.

What happens if you eat Elmer’s glue?

Eating Elmer’s glue or any other kind of glue isn’t a good choice, but sometimes it does happen, especially among children. If you happen to witness or learn about someone trying a taste of Elmer’s glue, here is what to be aware of:

    • Although almost all Elmer’s glue products are non-toxic, it can still harm you if you eat it. If ingested in large amounts, it can block your airway and digestive tract because of the adhesive and thickness of the substance.
    • You can experience mild to severe side effects depending on how much glue you ingest. Serious side effects could include abdominal pain, throat pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion if a large amount of glue is swallowed.
    • If you don’t get medical help right away, eating Elmer’s glue could be fatal. Make sure that someone who eats Elmer’s glue gets to the hospital if it appears that they swallowed the substance.
    • If you happen to get Elmer’s glue in your mouth, around your mouth or watch a child or someone who doesn’t understand the severity of ingesting glue, it’s a good idea to get as much of it out as possible by swishing water in your mouth and rinsing before it gets a chance to bond to teeth, or travel down the throat.

Glue is for Paper, Not for Eating

If you are a teacher or are around curious kids who use Elmer’s glue in school, reminding them that eating glue is not good for them would be a good idea each time they go to use it. For a helpful tip, make up a rhyme about Elmer’s glue only being for paper or other surfaces, and that eating it can make them feel sick. Honest communication is crucial so that no one attempts to eat the glue and so they know what it can do if they does decide to taste it. At the end of the day a small taste won’t cause any major issues because it’s non-toxic, but it is important to explain the reasonings behind why we don’t want to eat Elmer’s glue to prevent it from happening.



Bronnie Bakes. Can You Eat Elmer’s Glue? ( Accessed July 26, 2022.

Glue Aid. Is Elmer’s Glue Toxic: All Your Questions Answered? ( Accessed July 25, 2022.

Simple Glue. Can Glue Kill You? What Happens If You Eat Glue? ( Accessed July 25, 2022.

Thinking Sustainably. Is Elmer’s Glue Biodegradable? ( Accessed July 26, 2022.