Ingesting high-concentration hydrogen peroxide as a form of alternative medicine can lead to embolisms and result in death, according to a study published in The Annals of Emergency Medicine

The current investigation looked at both the accidental and intentional consumption of industrial-concentration peroxide in formulations of 10 percent or more, as opposed to the low-concentration (3 to 5 percent) hydrogen peroxide liquid found in drug stores. The study included 10 years of information from 2001 and 2011. The information was from the U.S. National Poison Data System and the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

In that time frame, 294 cases of high-concentration peroxide poisoning were identified. The researchers found that 13.9 percent of the patients demonstrated evidence of embolic events, and 6.8 percent either died following peroxide ingestion or suffered long-term disability. Significant injury — ranging from seizures, respiratory distress, strokes, heart attacks, and altered mental states — wasn’t always immediately apparent. Problems occurred as long as 25 hours following peroxide ingestion.