Jan 12, 2017: What are the concerns when “Snow Globes” break?


Snow Globes have long been thought of as a pretty winter decoration – interesting for young and old to watch.


The contents are:

            1) Plastic or calcium carbonate

            2) Water

                        Toxicity may come from salmonella organisms in the water, especially when they are manufactured in China or other countries where water supply may be contaminated.

            3) Ethylene Glycol (may be added)

Four of 11 Snow Globe manufacturers companies reported the use of Ethylene Glycol (13% to 20%) during manufacturing.  Four companies reported the use of distilled water (an algaecide was added to one). 


A cat died following exposure to a Snow Globe that contained Ethylene Glycol. Although leakage (or breaking) a Snow Globe may be a potential risk to pets, risk to humans is small due to the small amount of fluid and dispersion of the fluid.


Call Tennessee Poison Center for any concern of potential exposure at 1-800-222-1222.


This Question prepared by: Rhonda Daugherty, RN, CSPI (Certified Specialist in Poison Information)  Tennessee Poison Center


I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestion at donna.seger@vanderbilt.edu


Donna Seger, MD

Medical Director

Tennessee Poison Center


Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222