Q:

What happens if you eat dirt?

A:

Quick Answer

The Hospital for Sick Children explains that eating dirt can lead to abdominal pain, constipation, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. Most children, however, do not eat enough dirt for these reactions to occur. Children under 3 years old normally eat about 500 milligrams of dirt per day.

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Full Answer

According to The Hospital for Sick Children, eating dirt poses hazards from chemical contamination, harmful bacteria from sewage or manure, and parasites from feces. Contaminated soil often contains the dangerous chemicals lead and arsenic. Some people eat dirt regularly as part of a rare eating disorder; anyone doing so should see a doctor to be tested for dietary deficiencies.

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