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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ask the Doctor

Q: Is it dangerous to lick the glue on stamps and envelopes?

Dr. Nadezhda Pugachyova, NeBolit Clinic:

Postal glue is a chemical substance, so if it's ingested daily in large quantities, it can be poisonous. The mouth is a very sensitive area that absorbs toxins quickly, so it's not recommended to lick postal envelopes. Postal workers are supposed to use a special brush."

Dr. Irina Vorotnikova, MedTsentrServis:

First of all, any glue can provoke an allergic reaction, whether it's on envelopes, stamps, or band-aids. If the glue contains chemical additives, it can cause respiratory dysfunction, such as asthma or bronchitis, especially if the person is already prone to such diseases. If there are wounds or canker sores on or inside the mouth, the glue is likely to make them worse. Lastly, as with any exposed glue, glue on envelopes attracts all kinds of bacteria, like the strips that sometimes hang in stores to attract flies. It might not be a good idea to lick it, especially in post offices, which tend to be dusty and full of fungi and legionella bacteria that cause pneumonia."

Dr. Marina Dashkovskaya, American Medical Center:

Any glue, no matter what its ingredients are, is not intended for ingesting, because it is toxic. Frequent consumption may negatively affect the body's vital organs. So licking envelopes and stamps is a bad idea. One should instead use a damp brush."