Friday, October 06, 2006

One of the Many Uses of Activated Carbon

Sri Lanka's Haycarb Ltd, the world's biggest maker of coconut shell based activated carbon, is donating a medical grade version of their products to hospitals around the island, to be used as a cure on victims who attempt to commit suicide.

The company (which controls around 15 percent of the world's activated carbon market) is distributing 15,000 bottles, each containing 50 grams each of the medical grade activated carbon in powder form, to government hospitals through the State Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Sri Lanka has one of the world's highest suicide rates, where people attempt to take their lives by swallowing Yellow Oleander (Kaneru) seeds or pesticides.

The carbon powder mixed with water to form a suspension is administered orally to the victim of attempted suicide. The carbon then works as an effective, antidote that absorbs the poison in a person's stomach.

It's an inexpensive antidote with a high success rate, Haycarb said Thursday.

"Activated carbon has saved many thousands of lives in Sri Lanka over the years and its efficacy has been confirmed by a study done by Sri Lankan and British specialists over 6 months and published in the authoritative medical journal 'The Lancet'," Haycarb Director Rohan Pieris said.

As an antidote for poisoning by Kaneru and certain types of pesticides, activated carbon replaces the antidote used in hospitals overseas, a single treatment of which costs 265,000 rupees.

Most local hospitals that receive victims of attempted suicide by Kaneru or pesticide poisoning, have to induce patients to vomit, in order to flush out the poison, as the imported antidote is too expensive.

The success rate of this method is comparatively low as opposed to the use of activated carbon, which is much easier to administer and has a very high success rate if administered correctly.

Read more at LBO

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