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Plastic resin hardener poisoning

This is poisoning from swallowing or eating a plastic resin hardener. Resin hardener fumes may also be poisonous.

This is for information only, and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Epoxy
  • Resin

Where Found

  • Various plastic resin hardeners

Symptoms

Airways and lungs:

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat:

  • Severe pain in the throat
  • Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
  • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
  • Loss of vision

Heart and blood vessels:

  • Low blood pressure, develops rapidly
  • Collapse

Stomach and intestines:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting, possibly bloody
  • Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
  • Blood in the stool

Skin:

  • Irritation
  • Burn
  • Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues

Home Care

Seek immediate emergency medical help. If the resin is on the skin, wash the area thoroughly for at least 15 minutes. Contact poison control for further information.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • The patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength, if known)
  • The time it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

See National Poison Control Center .

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (electrocardiogram), or heart tracing
  • Breathing support
  • Bronchoscopy - camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
  • Endoscopy -- the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach
  • Intravenous (through the vein) fluids
  • Laxatives
  • Medication to treat symptoms
  • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)
  • Tube through the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage )

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Swallowing such poisons can have severe effects on many parts of the body. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible.

The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed, and death may occur as long as a month later. Treatment may require removal of part of the esophagus and stomach.

Prevention

Keep all poisons in childproof containers, with original labels, and out of the reach of children.

References

Bruno GR, Carter WA. Caustics. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 181.

Holland MG. Occupational Toxicology. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 82.

Updated: 10/16/2013

Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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