All phenols are poisonous and highly hazardous to humans. But all over the world, they are produced and used by millions of tons per year.
When ingested, these substances can cause severe poisoning. Therefore, let's find out in which industries phenol is used, how it enters the human body, about its toxic properties and signs of poisoning with it, about first aid and treatment.
Characteristics of phenols
Phenol has the form of colorless crystals, which, quickly oxidized in air, become pink in color. Sharp specific smell of phenol is similar to the smell of gouache.
It is moderately soluble in water (1:20). It is well dissolved in alcohol, alkalis, acetone, oils. But at temperatures above 700 ° C it dissolves in water in any ratio. With water vapor acquires volatile properties. Easily absorbed by the products.
- hydroquinone and others.
Use of phenols
Anyone has the opportunity to face and even get phenol poisoning in everyday life, given its widespread use. Where does it apply?
Chemical industry: manufacture of dyes, synthetic fibers (nylon and nylon), plastics, epoxy resins, cleaning and disinfecting solutions.
- Oil refining industry: selective purification of oils.
- Agriculture: in cattle breeding (for disinfecting animals), in plant growing - it is part of fungicides and pesticides - for combating plant diseases and weeds.
- Wood industry: additive for wood and glue.
- Food industry: phenol derivatives provide preservative properties in smoke smoke.
- Pharmaceutical industry: the production of certain drugs ("Aspirin", "Oracept"), as a preservative in the production of vaccines.
- Medicine: as an antiseptic ("Xeroform") and drugs for the treatment of fungal skin diseases, genital warts, inflammation of the middle ear and other diseases; in the form of a 3-5% solution for disinfecting discharges of patients and items of care, patients' linen; room cleaning.
- In cosmetology: deep peeling.
Phenol has a hazard class II - a highly hazardous substance. It can enter the body through the mucous membranes, respiratory organs and skin, and is excreted through the kidneys and lungs.
The solution of phenol, as well as its dust and vapors, cause irritation and chemical burns of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Phenol vapor poisoning can disrupt the function of the nervous system up to paralysis of the respiratory center.
In case of contact with the skin, the substance, even through intact areas, is quickly absorbed. Already after a few minutes, begins a toxic effect on the brain. The deadly dose of phenol in the internal reception for an adult ranges from 1 g to 10 g, and for children - from 0.05 g to 0.5 g.
The poisoning effect on all cells occurs as a result of a change in the structure of protein molecules with a change in their properties and precipitation of cellular proteins. As a result, necrosis (death) of tissues may develop.
Phenols also have a pronounced toxic effect on the kidneys. They destroy red blood cells in the blood, have an allergenic effect on the body, cause dermatitis and other allergic reactions.
Causes of poisoning
Phenol poisoning can occur for the following reasons:
violation of safety measures in the course of working with them;
- accidental use of toxic substances;
- suicidal attempt;
- violation of dosages and rules of use of medicines;
- violations of the rules for the storage of medicines, disinfectants and household chemicals in places accessible to children;
- the use of plastic toys by children that do not comply with GOST (in recent years children have been poisoned when playing with dolls, even expensive ones, made in China and Thailand).
Symptoms of phenol poisoning
Poisoning are acute and chronic. Symptoms of acute phenol poisoning can occur with the ingestion of a poisonous substance through the mouth, respiratory tract, or in contact with the skin.
Acute inhalation poisoning with phenol is manifested by the following symptoms:
- increased salivation;
- sneezing, coughing;
- protein, red blood cells in the urine.
In case of contact of the substance with the skin, there first appears severe pallor and wrinkling on the affected skin area, and then redness, blistering with subsequent development of necrosis. The appearance of numbness or tingling, the absence of pain at the beginning can cause delayed medical care.
With extensive lesions, severe poisoning develops with fever, impaired breathing, blood circulation and the nervous system.
Upon receipt of phenol in the body characteristic manifestations of poisoning are:
- peculiar smell from the mouth;
- there are white spots on the lips and mucous membrane of the mouth (chemical burn);
- severe pain in the throat and abdomen;
- vomiting, brown color and characteristic smell of vomitus;
- loose bloody stools;
- severe pallor of the face;
- dilated pupils;
- profuse cold sweat;
- sharp decrease in temperature;
- difficulty and violation of the rhythm of breathing;
- acute cardiovascular insufficiency (low blood pressure, low pulse);
- in the urine red blood cells and protein;
- confusion, perhaps the development of coma and seizures.
When liver damage develops jaundice. Renal cessation is evidence of kidney damage. When concentrated solutions or large doses of a substance enter the body, death occurs already on the first day.
For chronic poisoning characteristic:
- increased fatigue;
- sleep disturbance;
- nausea and digestive disorders;
First aid and treatment
In case of phenol poisoning (even with the manifestation of minor symptoms), treatment should be carried out competently from the very first minutes in order not to harm the victim.
What to do in acute phenol poisoning? Urgently call an ambulance, because the delay with emergency care and treatment is unacceptable!
In case of phenol poisoning, medical assistance must be given first aid before the arrival.
- When externally exposed to poison - remove it from the skin by rinsing with water in large quantities. If the solution of phenol got on the skin through clothes, then you need to remove it in the shower. It is impossible to treat places of burns with fat, ointment. You can take painkillers. If the substance splashes into the eyes - wash them with water for at least 15 minutes.
- If the substance is swallowed, immediately give the affected person water or milk and force the mouth to rinse. At the same time, water and milk should not be swallowed so as not to increase the amount of poison in the stomach.
- Do not induce vomiting, as the toxic substance in the vomitus will re-act, aggravating damage to the mucous membranes (esophagus, oral cavity) and may even get into the respiratory tract with the development of asphyxiation, because the burned epiglottis may not perform its function.
- The victim is given a glass of water to drink, in order to reduce the concentration of the substance in the stomach, activated carbon (10-15 tablets) or another sorbent: Polyphepan, Carbolen, Enterosgel.
- Inhalation of vapors of the victim should be brought to fresh air. Alkaline inhalation can be performed.
In all cases of phenol poisoning, treatment is carried out in the toxicological department. Treatment may include:
- the introduction of antidote - calcium gluconate 10% solution by mouth or intravenously;
- detoxification therapy;
- heart drugs, antibiotics and other symptomatic therapy;
- if necessary, connect artificial respiration;
- in extremely severe cases, exchange transfusion or plasmapheresis is prescribed.
In order to avoid phenol poisoning, you should strictly observe safety precautions when working with it and ensure proper storage of funds at home. In case of poisoning, only immediate treatment for medical assistance can save lives.