Chemical Poisoning

Symptoms of Chemical Poisoning

There are several symptoms of chemical poisoning, whether the poisoning is by swallowing, touching, or breathing.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in skin color
  • Headache or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Irritated eyes, skin, or throat
  • Unusual behavior
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Stomach cramps or diarrhea

If you think you have been exposed to a toxic chemical in the United States call the Poison Control Center, EMS, 9-1-1, or the operator (whichever applies to your area). 

If You Suspect a Chemical Spill / Leakage

If you see or smell something that you think may be dangerous, or find someone who has been overcome with toxic vapors, your first job is to make sure that you don't become a victim. If you remain in a dangerous area and become injured or unconscious, you cannot help yourself or any victims. Because chemical poisoning can be a life threatening emergency:

  1. Send someone to call EMS immediately.
  2. Tell the operator the location of the emergency and the phone number from where you are calling.
  3. Describe what has happened, how many people are involved, and what is being done to help.
  4. Stay on the phone until the operator tells you to hang up.

Administering CPR

If you are trained in CPR or first aid, and feel confident that you are not in danger, check the person for life-threatening injuries. Administer appropriate treatment, and then deal with the chemical injuries.

If you have not recently taken a course in CPR or first aid in the United States or its territories, contact the American Red Cross for course information and schedules.