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Chlorinated lime poisoning

Definition

Chlorinated lime is a white powder used for bleaching or disinfecting. Chlorinated lime poisoning occurs when someone swallows chlorinated lime.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • Calcium hydroxide
  • Calcium hypochlorite

Where Found

  • Bleach
  • Used in a number of manufacturing processes

Note: This list may not include all sources of chlorinated lime.

Symptoms

Blood:

  • Severe change in the acid level in the blood (pH balance), which leads to damage in all of the body organs

Eyes, ears, nose, and throat:

  • Loss of vision
  • Severe pain in the throat
  • Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue

Gastrointestinal:

Heart and circulatory system: 

  • Collapse
  • Low blood pressure that develops rapidly

Lungs and airways:

  • Breathing difficulty (from breathing in the chlorinated lime)
  • Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)

Skin:

  • Burns
  • Holes (necrosis) in the skin or tissues underneath
  • Irritation

Home Care

Seek medical help right away. Do not make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a health care provider. Do not give water or milk if the patient is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.

If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move him or her to fresh air.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator)
  • Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (heart tracing)
  • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Pain medicine
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
  • Surgical removal of burned skin (skin debridement)

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

This type of poison can cause severe burns inside the entire gastrointestinal tract.

References

Perez A, McKay C. Halogens (bromine, iodine, and chlorine compounds). In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 96.

Sioris LJ, Schuller HK. Soaps, detergents, and bleaches. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 102.

Review Date:1/26/2014
Reviewed By:Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Olgivie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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