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I remember hearing a long time ago that putting dry ice into a liquid that is then consumed by people could potentially poison them. I was just looking at halloween drink recipes and a few of them used dry ice in the liquids that people were drinking.

So, can putting dry ice in a liquid (say, punch) and then drinking that liquid poison you? Or ws this information wrong?

Please note, I do not mean that the carbon dioxide that's released into the atmosphere can poison you, I mean the physical consumption of the liquid that the dry ice was put in.

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I must be dead then. We always mixed red and green koolaid, to give a nasty colored liquid with the dry ice steam bubbling off of it. It wasn't so good in milk. :P –  thursdaysgeek Aug 23 '12 at 19:17

3 Answers 3

No it will not poison you to drink a liquid that is directly cooled by dry ice. At normal pressures there may be some gaseous CO2 dissolved in the liquid giving it a mild carbonation. However, dry ice can be dangerous to bare skin, mouth, or GI tissue if someone swallows a medium to large pieces of dry ice. Small pieces are not poisonous, but can produce an unpleasant popping or tingling sensation in the mouth (like extra tingly PopRocks). In a process similar to making liquid nitrogen ice cream, dry ice can even be used to make ice cream if it is crushed very finely.

Dry ice will sink to the bottom of a drink "cauldron". If more cooling is needed, do not add regular ice to the cauldron, instead add it to individual drink glasses.

Some simple rules to remember when working with dry ice:

  • Do not allow dry ice to come in contact with bare skin or other bodily tissue. Keep the dry ice in its packaging at all times. Dry ice has a temperature of -79°C and direct contact can cause freeze burns. If you must handle dry ice, use gloves or newspaper.

  • Always handle and store dry ice in well ventilated areas. Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air. If it is allowed to accumulate in poorly ventilated areas such as boat holds, cellars, cars and vans, it can become a safety hazard, as it will displace oxygen and could lead to asphyxiation. Do not leave coolers in closed vehicles for extended periods and always make sure a window is open. Adequately ventilate areas before entering.

  • Do not place dry ice in airtight containers such as stoppered glass jars, bottles or other sealed containers as they could explode.

  • Do not store dry ice in refrigerators or freezers. Store in the best insulated cooler possible.

  • Do not pack dry ice in direct contact with glass bottles, jars, etc. as the glass could crack and shatter; use non-glass containers.

  • If the block is to be reduced in size by breaking or cutting, leave it in the packaging provided to avoid contact with skin and eyes.

  • Do not use dry ice in individual drinks. Use only in large punch bowls for effect. Under no circumstances should dry ice be placed in the mouth.

Dry Ice Safety

Dry Ice Safe Handling Practices

MSDS for Dry Ice

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Approaching my 47th Halloween, I wish I could upvote this twice. –  Jolenealaska Oct 15 '13 at 5:04

No, it cannot poison you. CO2 isn't toxic unless you're breathing an excess amount of it. What it definitely would do, however, is cause burns to any flesh it touches. If you were to swallow a piece of it, that could be very serious since it could burn the mouth, tongue, esophagus and/or stomach.

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True, although it must be said that once the pieces are dissolved there won't pratically be any CO2 left, as most will have evaporated. –  nico Aug 23 '12 at 18:26

Previous answers pretty much cover any dangers from solid CO2 itself, but there's also the issue of contaminents included in the material because of how the stuff is made. Vacuum systems, pressure manifolds and forming molds tend to release lubricants and cleaning agents into whatever goes through them. It's not a huge issue with dry ice, but there is such a thing as food grade dry ice, which means that there is also non food grade dry ice. Check with your dealer to see what he's selling you, and proceed on the basis of that knowledge.

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