Why is activated charcoal contraindicated for acid, alkali, and petroleum?

I was not able to find a rationale for activated charcoal being contraindicated for a patient who ingested acid, alkali, or petroleum based products. This must mean that at best activated charcoal has no effect for these substances, or at worst it actually does more harm.

Why is this?

2 Responses to “Why is activated charcoal contraindicated for acid, alkali, and petroleum?”

  1. ldmitchell82 Says:

    Activated charcoal is contraindicated for use when a patient has taken an acid, alkali and any petroleum product because the charcoal will make the the patient vomit causing more damage bringing the substances back up. These product can cause damage when ingested going down such as burns to the throat. Today activated charcoal is not used much if you can even find it in a drugstore since it had been misused or incorrectly used causing more problems then good.

  2. Warren Drabble Says:

    Charcoal produces carbon, it depends on the charcoal. Traditionally charcoal is actually partially burned wood. But you can also find charcoal with extra flammable ingredients such as petroleum based coating which aid the ignition. People get lazy and prefer a charcoal that ignites easily.

    This is where you find the harmfull chemicals in the food and that’s probably why the patient had such problems. The best is to recommend ordinary wood charcoal. Even plain wood will be better but unfortunately Carcinogens will still be present but obviously not as bad as petrolium based carcinogens.

    Gas grills produce a cleaner flame. Charcoal produces better taste.