Question: What is chuna and what toxicity has resulted from the use of this substance?
Answer: The cited reference reports: “Chuna is an edible calcium hydroxide paste that is added to chewing tobacco in India and other regions of Southeast Asia. Recently, chuna has been sold in packets, which have been known to burst, causing severe alkali ocular burns in children playing with them. In many cases, the severity of the injury resulted because of a delay in treatment, giving enough time for the chuna particles to embed deeply into the fornices of the eye. Most cases required surgery and resulted in severe, permanent vision loss.” (Ratnapalan S. et al. Causes of eye burns in children. 2011 Pediatr Emerg Care 27:151-156)