Even from the general chemistry course, everyone knows that formaldehyde is a very toxic substance and frequent contact with this compound threatens a person with at least a poor overall well-being. If before it was used in tanning leather, plastics, in medicine and in laboratories, now it can be found everywhere. In an attempt to find the perfect cosmetics for women, this substance was even put on a rejuvenation cream. Such an abundance of formaldehyde in our lives can not affect human health.
Is it possible to poison with formaldehyde, being practically in constant contact with it? Who is most at risk of poisoning and what happens inside a person when in contact with such a compound?
Where formaldehyde is used
Formaldehyde is in a gaseous state, has an unpleasant smell, soluble in water. It is an aqueous solution (it is called metandiol or formalin) that is often used in industry and medicine. Harmful formaldehyde is even found in nail polish. But these are not all areas of application of gaseous and aqueous formaldehyde solutions.
It is used in cosmetology in the manufacture of creams, mouth rinses, deodorants and shampoos. Formaldehyde is added as a stabilizer (preservative) and antiseptic. With the latter goal in trace amounts may be contained in antiseptic solutions and gels for surface treatment, skin of the hands. Such formaldehyde will not harm health if its maximum concentration is no more than 0.2%.
In medicine, they use means for preserving drugs (so that the exhibits under study do not decompose over time) and the manufacture of certain medicines.
In industrial production, compounds with formaldehyde are used for tanning leather, producing plywood, for experiments in the laboratory.
Who is most affected by such a poisonous substance? These are workers in laboratories where cosmetics are produced, workers in furniture factories, health workers and medical students, often in contact with formalin.
Symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning
As already noted, small quantities in the composition of the product do not cause harm and are allowed in the production of even cosmetics. The maximum permissible concentration of formaldehyde in the environment is 0.5 mg per cubic meter. If the air contains more gas than this amount - there are signs of formaldehyde poisoning. A lethal amount of an aqueous solution for a person is 10–50 g, and a pure gaseous substance is 60–90 ml.
This toxic compound affects virtually all organ systems. What does a person feel when poisoning?
In small quantities, with constant inhalation of formaldehyde vapors, this primarily affects the nervous system. Symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning appear gradually:
A person is worried about the lack of sleep, surrounding people notice that he falls into depression for no apparent reason. With the defeat of the respiratory center there is a feeling of lack of air.
Frequent contact with skin leads to dermatitis, brittle nails and hair. Perhaps peeling of the skin, and people who are predisposed to skin diseases in rare cases develop eczema.
Acute inhalation poisoning with rapid inhalation will cause irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes and nasopharynx, a spasm may develop immediately in the bronchi and pulmonary edema may occur.
Symptoms of formalin poisoning (which happens when you accidentally use it inside) are burning, pain in the throat, along the upper digestive system. Severe pain in the stomach, bloody vomiting. The kidneys are gradually involved in the process, after the examination, inflammation and swelling of the tissues are noted, the victim is worried about the lack of urination for a long time.
It is not only the nervous system that tolerates formalin poisoning (constant headaches, irritation, hand tremors, blurred vision). The whole body responds to signs of finding a toxic substance:
- nausea and vomiting;
- violation of sweating;
- unreasonable temperature drops.
Many of these symptoms have been bothering the person for years, and no one thinks about the presence of this compound in the organs.
What is harmful formaldehyde? Its danger is not only in chronic or acute poisoning, the drug has a negative effect on reproductive function, can cause cancer cell degeneration and lead to the development of a chronic disease - bronchial asthma.
Formaldehyde poisoning treatment
First aid for formalin poisoning is washing the stomach with plenty of water. The antidote is a 3% solution of ammonium chloride or carbonate. It must be entered through a probe if the person is unconscious or give a drink to the victim. These compounds interact with formalin and neutralize it, translating into non-toxic hexamine. In case of acute poisoning, you can not keep a person in a stuffy room, provide access of oxygen.
Further treatment of formalin poisoning with formaldehyde is carried out only in a hospital where the victim must be taken immediately. It is important to quickly start symptomatic treatment:
- Violation of the heart rhythm, the appearance of pain, depression of the respiratory function - corrected by "Atropine", "Promedol" and artificial ventilation of the lungs.
- In parallel, prescribe a heavy drink or injected with salt solutions containing urea to support the kidneys.
Further treatment is symptomatic, depending on the degree of organ damage.
No specific symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning. But those who are often in contact with this substance should not forget about prevention: to air the room, use personal protective equipment when working with it, and just undergo preventive check-ups every year. Consequences of formalin poisoning is not easy bad overall health, but also the hardest irreversible processes in many body systems. It is better to be overly attentive to your health than to overlook something.