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Common chemical poisonings 

Common chemical poisonings
Chapter:
Common chemical poisonings
Author(s):

D Nicholas Bateman

, Robert D Jefferson

, Simon HL Thomas

, John P Thompson

, and J Allister Vale

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199594740.003.0009
Page of

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date: 23 August 2019

Chemicals are widely used both in industry and in the home. Twenty-nine sections in this chapter discussthose most likely to be seen in UK and European clinical practice. Controversial issues addressed include appropriate use of cyanide antidotes and difficulties in determining the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen. Some chemicals, such as chlorine, are transported by road and rail with potential hazard for accidental release. Other chemicals are released following combustion, and smoke may contain toxins, including oxides of nitrogen, cyanide, and carbon monoxide. Some industrial chemicals are extremely poisonous, one being phosgene, a potential chemical warfare agent.Most physicians will be aware of dangers from acids and alkalis, but hydrofluoric acidnot only results in localtissue necrosis, as the absorption of fluoride ion also causes severe hypocalcaemia with potential for cardiac arrhythmia and death. Toxic alcohols form another large grouping causing clinical management problems that are explained.

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