A 10-year-old boy from China had to get his stomach pumped after bullies at school made him eat bits of pencil Sept. 23.
Liu Xinze is a third-grade student at Daqing Petrochemical No.4 Elementary School. He began vomiting after eating dinner with his family at home, the Daily Mail reported.
His relatives realized something was wrong when they noticed the color of his vomit.
“There were plenty of black substances in his vomit. I wondered if he had eaten Oreo biscuits,” his sister said.
But the black substances turned out to be graphite from pencils.
“We saw graphite in his vomit. It's still hard,” his sister added.
Liu’s family asked him why he had eaten the pencils.
“I was just hungry,” he initially replied.
It was only after repeated questioning that he admitted to having been bullied by two older girls at school. They brought him bits of graphite from pencils and threatened to beat him up if he did not swallow them.
Reports said the boy had low self-esteem and was therefore unwilling to tell his family.
He was taken to the hospital where, according to local sources, doctors performed a three-hour operation to remove the graphite. So much graphite was in his stomach that his stomach acid had turned black.
Doctors stressed he did not have lead poisoning because the graphite in pencils is made from carbon.
Liu’s family has reported the incident to the police.
According to New York Times Health, graphite is relatively non-poisonous and anyone who swallows pencils has a good outlook for recovery. Problems can arise when children put a piece of pencil in their nose. If it is left there for some time, an infection can result.