Now that homes in Illinois and across the country have gotten those free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests provided by the government, the National Capital Poison Center has issued a warning about them.

It has to do with the extraction vial that's used to determine a positive or negative test result.

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The Extraction Vials In Many Of The At-Home Test Kits Contain A Chemical Agent That Could Cause You A Health Problem

According to Poison Control, the extraction vial in many of the rapid antigen test kits includes sodium azide. Sodium azide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless powder, which has been used as a propellant in airbags and pest control agents, among many other things like the manufacturing of beer, wine, and rubber.

Poison Control officials say that should you swallow it, sodium azide can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, headache and/or heart palpitations. In the worst case scenario, you might experience seizures, loss of consciousness and/or death.

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There's A Good News-Bad News Dynamic At Work Here

The good news, as Poison Control points out, is that the amount of sodium azide in most rapid antigen kits is much lower than the amount expected to cause poisoning if swallowed by an adult.

The bad news is "the extraction vials do look like small squeeze bottles or eye droppers. Some people may accidentally confuse them with medications and apply the drops into their eyes or nose, which may cause irritation. People also may spill it on their skin which can cause skin irritation or chemical burns. Small children may accidentally swallow the contents of the vial or choke on the vial’s small cap."

Close-up of Negative test result indicator shown on Home Test kit for COVID-19
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Here's What To Do If You Have A Problem

If you suspect you or someone you know has swallowed sodium azide, do not make the person vomit. For eye exposures, rinse the eyes for 15-20 minutes with warm tap water. For skin exposures, rinse the skin well with tap water. Immediately check Poison Control Centers' online tool for guidance or call poison control at 1-800-222-1222.

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