Some individuals compulsively eat Argo laundry starch or other starch brands because they suffer from a physiological condition known as pica, which may be caused by a mineral deficiency. When the deficiency is identified and corrected, the compulsion to eat starch may go away.
When pica is not treated successfully, an adult with an addiction to eating starch may suffer many negative health effects. Pica is defined as compulsively eating any substance that is not food. Individuals have been known to eat clay, dirt, ice, paint or sand. Estimates are that 10 to 32 percent of children ages 1 to 6 exhibit this behavior. In children, this disorder may last several months and disappear on its own or may continue into adulthood, especially when it is associated with developmental disorders. Pica sometimes occurs during pregnancy.