The poinsettia is the most widely tested consumer plant on the market today, proving the myth about the popular holiday plant to be false:
- Scientific research from The Ohio State University has proved poinsettia to be non-toxic to both humans and pets. All parts of the plant were tested, including the leaves and sap.
- According to POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control centers, a child would have to ingest 500-600 leaves in order to exceed the experimental doses that found no toxicity.
- A study by Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University found that out of 22,793 reported poinsettia exposures there was essentially no toxicity significance of any kind. The study used national data collected by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that keeping this plant out of the reach of pets to avoid stomach upset is a good idea, however, pet owners need not fear the poinsettia and banish it from their homes for fear of a fatal exposure. The American Veterinary Medicine Association of America (AVMA), agrees.
As with any non-food product, however, the poinsettia is not meant to be eaten and can cause varying degrees of discomfort; therefore, the plant should be kept out of the reach of young children and curious pets.
Click here to read “Festive medical myths” posted on BMJ.com. Click here for a PDF.
Click here to read “Scientists Shed Light On Festive Medical Myths” posted on NPR. Click here for a PDF.
Poinsettia and Latex Allergies
According to the American Latex Allergy Association, only about 1 percent to 6 percent of the general population is allergic to latex, and “… one would have to have significant contact with the poinsettia plant’s latex directly to have an allergic reaction … only a small drop of latex that can be immediately wiped off of the skin is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.”
The Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory advises pet owners: “Wash sap off the animal to prevent further ingestion. Call a veterinarian if the eyes are affected, or if signs do not resolve in a few minutes.”