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Plastic casting resin poisoning

This is poisoning from eating or swallowing plastic casting resin. Resin 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.

Alternative Names

Epoxy poisoning; Resin poisoning

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Epoxy
  • Resin

Where Found

  • Various plastic casting resin products

Symptoms

Airways and lungs:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing

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
  • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)

Stomach and intestines:

  • 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

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help.

If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

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: Poison control center - emergency number

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 - 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 mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage )
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation), perhaps every few hours for several days

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 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.

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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