Carbolic acid

Alternative names 

Poisoning caused by an exposure to carbolic acid.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • phenol

Where Found

  • various antiseptics  
  • various disinfectants  
  • various germicides  
  • adhesive dyes  
  • perfumes  
  • textiles  
  • lubricating oils

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole       o excessive sweating       o excessive thirst       o convulsions       o decreased urine output       o no urine output       o urine discoloration  
  • respiratory       o deep, rapid breathing       o wheezing  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat:       o yellow eyes  
  • skin       o blue lips and fingernails       o yellow skin       o skin burns  
  • gastrointestinal       o nausea and/or vomiting       o diarrhea       o abdominal pain  
  • heart and blood vessels       o drop in blood pressure       o rapid heart rate  
  • nervous system       o hyperactivity       o stupor       o coma

Home Treatment
Call Poison Control Center for appropriate treatment. Flush eyes and wash skin if exposed.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed Poison Control, or a local emergency number They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring the poison container with you to the emergency room. What to expect at the emergency room Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
    • Dilute with water or milk.  
    • Administer activated charcoal.  
    • Use gastric lavage.  
    • Administer a cathartic (bowel evacuator).  
    • Treat the symptoms.

    Expectations (prognosis)
    Survival beyond 48 hours usually indicates recovery will occur.

    Johns Hopkins patient information

    Last revised: December 7, 2012
    by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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    All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.