The Poison Control Center

Torch Fuels 

Torch fuels, also called lamp oils, are often used in the summertime to light patio torches or decorative candles. Ingesting torch fuels can lead to severe injuries.

Dangers of torch fuels

In May 2013, the Poison Control Center received five calls about potentially toxic exposures to these lamp oils, reports Jeanette Trella, PharmD, managing director of The Poison Control Center. Two toddlers were hospitalized — one in an intensive care unit — and one adult drank some of the oil by mistake.

Torch fuels often come in bottles that can easily be mistaken for apple juice or another drink, especially by curious young children who can't read the warning label.

Lamp oils are often used around tables where food and drinks are served. Ingesting even a small amount of these hydrocarbon chemicals can cause excessive drowsiness, lung injury, difficulty breathing and even death.

Keeping your family safe from the dangers of torch fuels

The Poison Control Center suggests that families use alternative types of decorative lighting and keep liquid torch fuels out of their homes.

If torch fuels are used, The Poison Control Center offers these tips to prevent poisoning injury:

Call for help!

If you are concerned about a potentially toxic exposure to torch fuels or to any other medicine or chemical, call The Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate assistance and advice.


Reviewed by: The Poison Control Center
Date: May 2013

  • Print
  • Share

Contact Us

Call our 24-hour toll-free emergency hotline


Hearing impaired