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Asphalt cement


Alternative names

Before asphalt hardens, its liquid form can cause burns to the skin and eyes, it can cause lung damage if inhaled, and it can cause severe internal injury if ingested.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • various industrial solvents
  • various industrial glues
  • tar
  • various hydrocarbons

Where Found

  • various asphalt and tile cements
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms

  • Respiratory
    • Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
    • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • Severe pain in the throat
    • Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
    • Loss of vision
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Vomiting
    • Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
    • Vomiting blood
    • Blood in the stool
  • Heart and blood vessels
    • Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
    • Collapse
  • Skin
    • Irritation
    • Burn
    • Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
  • Blood
    • Severe change in pH (too much or too little acid in the blood, which leads to damage in all of the body organs)

Home Treatment

Seek emergency medical care immediately. Do NOT induce vomiting!

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the product
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

See Poison Control Centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring a product sample with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • For swallowed poison
    • Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach
    • Activated charcoal administration
    • Endoscopy -- the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach
    • Give IV fluids
    • Admission to the hospital
    • Give an antidote
    • Treat the symptoms
  • For inhaled poisons
    • A breathing tube may need to be inserted
    • Oxygen
    • Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit
    • Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs)
  • For skin exposure
    • Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days
    • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)
    • Admission or transfer to a hospital that specializes in burn care

Expectations (prognosis)

With any ingestion or burn, recovery and survival depend on the extent of the damage to organs and the time to treatment. The main toxicity occurs to the skin, lungs, and GI organs.

Update Date: 4/16/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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