Coins are foreign objects that are commonly ingested by children and pets due to their shiny
appearance and bright colors. The current study investigated whether Turkish coins can lead to
zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) toxicity as a result of exposure to simulated gastric juice (i.e. hydrochloric acid solution simulating the gastric environment). Five groups of coins were exposed
to simulated gastric juice (0.15 N, pH:1-2) for a period of 4 (Group 1), 12 (Group 2), 24 (Group 3),
48 (Group 4), 72 (Group 5) and 120 h (Group 5) at body temp. (37°C). Zinc and copper levels
were determined in the gastric acid solution by using an inductively coupled plasma optical
emission spectrophotometer (ICP-OES). The coins were also evaluated for corrosive damage
and weight loss. Group 5 had statistically higher Cu and Zn levels versus the other groups.
However, at body temp. (37°C), copper and zinc levels increased steadily in parallel to the duration for which the coin remained in the stomach after ingestion. After 120-hour exposure
at 37°C, all coins had various types of damage compared to the baseline, such as color
alteration, erosion, and visible surface cavities. The mechanisms relating to local and systemic
copper and zinc toxicity caused by coin ingestion is yet to be clarified for both Turkish and
international coins. Therefore, it can be foreseen that intervention is required in the first 24 h
after ingesting 5 kuruş coins and, unless removed spontaneously in 48 h, such intervention
is needed for the other coins.