Assessment and management of acute poisoning by petroleum products

Academic Department of Accident and Emergency Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.
Human &amp Experimental Toxicology (Impact Factor: 1.75). 12/2001; 20(11):551-62. DOI: 10.1191/096032701718620918
Source: PubMed


Petroleum products are highly complex chemical mixtures consisting predominantly of hydrocarbons. Their composition varies with source and intended use of the product. Virtually all are blended products that come into contact with man in a wide range of circumstances. Their toxicity for man is generally low and the use of additives rarely affects the toxicity of the final product. Because products are blended to meet performance, and not chemical specifications, their composition varies significantly. Management of toxicity benefits from simplified guidelines that consider the product by its type. Management in most cases is symptomatic, but the doctor needs to be aware of the potential for development of sequelae such as aspiration pneumonia and central nervous system (CNS) depression. Local and systemic effects of exposure to hydrocarbons are reviewed, as are immediate assessment and recommended management of acute exposure to petroleum products. Because of the large scope of this subject, this paper limits itself to acute toxicity of petroleum products encountered inthe public domain. It does not address topics such as chronic toxicity, solvent abuse, petrochemicals, or pesticides.

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