…meet Andrea from Marrietta in Georgia, America: the woman so addicted to eating sellotape that she nibbles her way through 6,000ft of tape every month.
‘I am addicted to eating tape. If I see tape in front of me I will pick it up and just start chewing. I have to have it,’ she said speaking on Discovery Real Time show ‘My Strange Addiction.’
The 23-year-old’s addiction began nine years ago and has progressively worsened.
‘The first time that ate tape was when I was out of gum, and there was tape.
‘I took a piece, chewed it, and I have been chewing tape ever since,’ she said.
She now eats about three rolls of sellotape every day, whether it’s whilst watching TV or when chatting on the phone to friends, Andrea is hooked.
She is seen on the documentary nibbling on the tape whilst studying, and even has her own wristband containing sellotape so that she can get her fix on the go.
Speaking to the camera she demonstrates how she eats the tape. She said: ‘I usually take about this much of tape (around four centimetres) and I just put it in my mouth and start chewing.
‘It’s just sticky when I first put it in my mouth. It has more of a chemical type taste to it.
‘Sometimes it tastes like glue. I usually chew it for about 30 seconds.
‘That piece will eventually dissolve, break-up. I swallow pieces of it, and I just put in another piece of tape,’ she said.
What is the adhesive?
Scotch Tape, according to the manufacturers at 3M, is formed using an acrylic polymer.
Is it toxic?
The adhesive on tape is toxic as it contains harmful chemicals such as benzene, xylene and toluene. Its toxicity does not decrease over time and can cause reactions such as headaches, kidney damage and even death if inhaled or ingested.
Source: Taylor Design Healthy Homes: Self Adhesive Label and Tape Prospectus
More Information: OSHA: Benzene
From BTEX in the environment:
“Of the four BTEX compounds, benzene is the most toxic. … Exposure to very high concentrations in air (10,000,000 ppb and above) can cause death (ASTR 2007a). Lower levels (700,00 – 3,000,000 ppb) can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, confusion and unconsciousness. Eating foods or drinking liquids containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, coma, and death. The health effects that may result from eating foods or drinking liquids containing lower levels of benzne are not known (ATSDR 2007a)… Both short- and long-term exposure to high concentrations of xylene can also cause a number of effects on the nervous system, such as headaches, lack of muscle coordination, dizziness, confusion, and changes in one’s sense of balance …”