Fake nails, cheap pants – full thickness cyanoacrylate burns

Dr. Lachlan Farmer1, Ms. Linda Quinn1, Dr. Amy Jeeves1, Dr. Michelle Lodge1, Mr. Darren Molony1, Dr. Rebecca Cooksey1, Mr. Bernard Carney1

1 Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Department of Burns Surgery, King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006. Corresponding author: lachlan.farmer@gmail.com

Nail glues are commercially available adhesive products designed for fixing cosmetic nails onto a natural nail. These products can be found in many homes around Australia in their role as nail glues or as a generic bonding agent e.g “Super Glue” or “Krazy Glue” (both containing ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate). The active compounds found in these adhesives are a mixture of alcohol and cyanoacrylates. Whilst these compounds have been modified in recent years to form safe-to-use tissue adhesives in the form of 2-octyl-cyanoacrylate (Dermabond), their predecessor found in nail glues are less so. We report on a case of nail glue reacting with cotton containing track-pants to produce an exothermic reaction resulting in a full thickness burn in a child. The underlying chemistry and safety implications are discussed.

Key Words

Nail Glue, Children’s Burns, Cyanoacrylate


Lachlan Farmer is a Paediatric Burns Registrar from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide

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