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Caulking compound poisoning


Definition:

Caulking compounds are substances used to seal cracks and holes around windows and other openings. Caulking compound poisoning occurs when someone swallows these substances.

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:

Hydrocarbons, including:

  • Acrylic
  • Acrylic-latex
  • Neoprene
  • Polysulfides
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silicone
  • Vulcanized butyl rubber
Where Found:
  • Various caulking compounds

Note: This list may not include all sources of caulking compounds.

Symptoms:

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat:

  • Loss of vision
  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue

Gastrointestinal system:

Heart and blood:

Lungs and airways:

  • Breathing difficulty (from breathing in the substance)
  • Throat swelling (may also cause breathing difficulty)

Nervous system:

  • Concentration problems
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness

Skin:

  • Burn
  • Irritation
Home Care:

Get medical help right away. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

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

If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. Do NOT give water or milk if the person is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.

If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move him or her to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency:

Determine the following information:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • 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.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room:

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:

  • Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs, and breathing machine (ventilator)
  • Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (heart tracing)
  • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to look at and possibly remove caulk from the esophagus and the stomach
  • Fluids through the vein (by IV)
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
Outlook (Prognosis):

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Damage can continue to occur for several weeks after the poison was swallowed.


Review Date: 1/31/2014
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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