Rubber cement

Definition 

Rubber cement is a common household glue that is relatively non-toxic in small amounts. However, inhalation of large amounts of its fumes or ingestion of any amount by a small child can be extremely dangerous.

Poisonous Ingredient 

     
  • paradichlorobenzene (considered fairly non-toxic)  
  • trichloroethane (can cause neurologic and respiratory toxicity)  
  • acetone

Symptoms  

     
  • Respiratory       o Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)       o Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)  
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o Severe pain in the throat       o Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue       o Loss of vision  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Severe Abdominal pain       o Vomiting       o Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)       o Vomiting blood       o Blood in the stool  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Low Blood pressure develops rapidly       o Collapse  
  • Skin       o Irritation       o Burn       o Holes in the skin or underlying tissues (necrosis)  
  • Blood       o Severe change in pH (too much or too little acid in the blood, which leads to damage in all of the body organs)

Home Treatment 

     
  • Seek emergency medical care immediately.  
  • DO NOT INDUCE Vomiting!  
  • Wash from the skin or irrigate the eyes for skin or eye exposure.  
  • For ingestion, drink water to dilute.

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 tube with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • For swallowed poison       o Placement of a tube down the nose and into the stomach (a nasogastric tube, or an NG tube) to wash out the stomach       o Activated charcoal administration       o Endoscopy - the placement of a camera down the throat to see the extent of burns to the esophagus and the stomach.       o Give IV fluids       o Admission to the hospital       o Give an antidote       o Treat the symptoms  
  • For inhaled poisons       o A breathing tube may need to be inserted       o Oxygen       o Admission to the hospital or to the intensive care unit       o Bronchoscopy (inserting a camera down the throat into the airway to evaluate the extent of burns to the airway and lungs)  
  • For skin exposure       o Irrigation (washing of the skin), perhaps every few hours for several days       o Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)       o Admission or transfer to a hospital that specializes in burn care

Expectations (prognosis) 
Recovery and survival depend upon the amount ingested or inhaled, and the time to treatment. Severe, life-threatening damage to the lungs may occur.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.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.