Phenol poisoning: symptoms, signs, treatment

Each year the world produces over 8 million tons of phenol for different industries. Chemical compound belongs to the second class of hazard and is highly toxic. After contact with even small doses of substances inside of the human body develops in poisoning by phenol. This condition provokes the rapid appearance of severe complications, in most cases ending in death.

The characteristics of phenol

Phenol, or carbolic acid, at the same time shows the chemical properties of alcohols and aromatic hydrocarbons. Toxic substance easily identified by the specific smell of gouache, the manufacture of which used phenol. Carbolic acid is so weak that it is easily displaced from the mixture even carbonic acid.

Phenol looks like a cluster of crystals in needle-like, turning pink in the open air. Painting solid forms toxic compounds changes due to the intermediate formation of quinones. Carbolic acid has low solubility in water, alcohol, acids and alkalis.

Phenol has the ability to dry mucous membranes and skin. It so absorbs moisture, which in a few minutes after contact of the skin form white dry spots. Soon the damaged area begins to peel the top layer of the epidermis.

This property is widely used in medicine for patient care. In retsepturno-industrial departments of pharmacies made a 5% dilution is safe for humans. Toxic is the dose that provokes acute phenol poisoning after ingestion of the gastrointestinal tract. Its performance vary according to:

  • age;
  • health;
  • the body's resistance to the action of toxic substances.

The death of a person is ascertained in the use of 2 g of phenol. Especially susceptible to carbolic acid intoxication children. The child is just being formed, the immune system, some organs and tissues. The permeability of blood vessels in babies increased, which facilitates the spread of venom.

The toxic effect of phenol

Concentrated solutions of phenol and vapors are irritating to all cells and tissues in the human body. When contacting a toxic compound develops an extensive chemical burn of mucous membranes, skin, larynx, bronchi, bronchioles, digestive system. Carbolic acid can penetrate the blood stream of a human in several ways:

  1. Inhalation of phenol, which is in the gaseous state.
  2. After skin contact of the crystals or concentrated solutions.
  3. When the penetration into the stomach.

Immediately after hitting the phenol on the different parts of the human body causing severe pain spasm. It is so intense that it rapidly develops a reflex reaction expressed shock and paralysis that is responsible for the regulation of breathing. There is a decrease in the functional activity of all parts of the Central nervous system.

Phenol is able to quickly penetrate into the bloodstream. If the concentration of toxic compounds were significant, the death of the brain occurs within a few minutes. Even short-term detoxification therapy is unable to prevent the death of a person.

Intoxication is carbolic acid develops in the coagulation of protein molecules in the cell protoplasm. This condition provokes extensive tissue necrosis and organ. Phenol reacts with red blood cells, causing their destruction, preventing the transfer of molecular oxygen to the brain cells. Tissue hypoxia does not allow the Central system to perform the functions of the regulation of all vital systems. Toxic properties of phenol are expressed as follows:

  • After deformation of red blood cells resulting decay products cannot be filtered from the blood the kidney structural elements. Developed acute renal failure.
  • The liver is affected carbolic acid in the first place. The biological filter is not capable of processing harsh chemical substance that destroys the cells.

The most dangerous is getting phenol on the mucosa of the eyes. Arise in multiple foci of inflammation that are difficult to treat. Unlike other poisons, carbolic acid damages all layers of the epidermis. The skin reddens, becomes dry, it swell blisters with liquid.

How can you get poisoned by toxic connection

Modern industrial production cannot be imagined without phenol. It is used as the main or additional component like catalyst, disinfectant substance. Carbolic acid is used in such cases:

  1. In the manufacture of coatings, nylon and nylon fabrics, epoxy resin.
  2. To produce various plastic products, adhesive, grout for wood and particle Board material.
  3. When cleaning oil separation into fractions.
  4. For the production of artificial smoke, enhancing its preservative properties.
  5. For the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms in medicine or in various stagesprocesses.

People involved in breeding cattle, use a weak dilution of phenol for the treatment of animal skin. Under the influence of toxic compounds there is a destruction of blood-sucking parasites and pending their larvae.

Carbolic acid is used in agriculture as herbicides, causing the death of garden pests. Solutions of phenol handled tools, furniture and other surfaces in offices hospitals. Earlier, the substance was used during the procedure of chemical peeling. Carbolic acid burned the top layer of the skin, which then peels off. In its place began to actively share new cells, wrinkles disappeared, the skin was completely gone.

You cannot buy the children soft and plastic toys, which retailers can't provide a certificate of quality. Their production in some countries is used a phenol. Kids love to chew on toys — the risk of poisoning is extremely high.

In medicine widely used disinfectant properties of phenol:

  • removal of skin growths (papillomas, warts);
  • as a preservative or stabilizer basics rectal suppositories;
  • as a fungicidal agent for treating onychomycosis and herpes zoster.

Poisoning poisonous substance happens when a safety violation when working with phenol or improperly stored. Connection danger of its rapidly developing symptoms, so when breeding you should use a respirator and goggles.

Forms of poisoning

In most of the diagnosed cases of poisoning by carbolic acid, had an acute form of the current. But workers in industrial enterprises, farmers, health professionals, pharmacists are prescription-production departments are faced daily with the poisonous secretions of phenol. Substance known for its ability to accumulate in the tissues, provoking the gradual breakdown of the cells.

Chronic poisoning can be set only on the results of laboratory tests of blood and urine. The procedure of examination necessarily, if a man complains to rapid fatigue, sleep problems, disorders of the urinary tract, heaviness in the right hypochondrium.

Many have heard the expression "phenolic houses". More than fifty years ago was erected high-rise buildings, the construction of which used a poisonous compound. Formaldehyde, a close analogue of phenol, was used for the rapid solidification of the concrete, which significantly increased the speed of construction of buildings. After the delivery of the facilities the residents of the houses were suffering from chronic poisoning.

The clinical picture of poisoning

Symptoms of intoxication with phenol varied and is directly dependent on the state of human health and ways of penetration of the poison inside the bloodstream. If poisoning has occurred by inhalation of toxic fumes, the following symptoms:

  1. Emotional instability: apathy replaced by increased anxiety, restlessness, motor activity.
  2. Increased salivation.
  3. Sore throat, painful cough, sneezing non-stop.
  4. Violation of the gastrointestinal tract: vomiting, nausea, diarrhea.
  5. Slowing of heart rate, arterial hypertension, tremor of the upper and lower extremities.
  6. Acute respiratory failure.
  7. Change the color and smell of urine.
  8. Violation of coordination of movements, loss of orientation in space, dizziness.

The poisoning of carbolic acid occurs in case of emergency situations or the failure to follow safety rules when working with highly toxic compounds. Most often poisoning occurs after extensive chemical burns of carbolic acid. This state occurs upon dilution of the concentrated solution. In humans, the following symptoms of poisoning by phenol:

  • on the skin formed whitish spots;
  • develops redness intact;
  • there is a feeling of tingling, burning, numbness.

After penetration into the body the poison disrupts the operation of all vital systems. The oxygen supply to the brain cells, which causes extensive pulmonary edema and cardiac arrest.

A distinctive feature of this method of poisoning is hyperthermia. Reddening of the skin causes a sharp jump in temperature to subfebrile figures. A serious consequence of hyperthermia is dehydration, hinder the work of the liver and kidneys to neutralize endotoxins and to eliminate them from the body.

After contact with liquid or crystalline slurry of the phenol in the stomach with a lethal outcome can be prevented only by timely medical intervention. That is instantly absorbed by the mucous membrane of the stomach, causing extensive necrosis. In addition to the disorder of the entire digestive system, the victim experiences the following symptoms of poisoning:

  1. Opens vomiting with admixture of blood.
  2. Pupils dilate, appear whitish spots in the mouth and on the tongue.
  3. Allocated with urine greenshade.
  4. Tremor of the limbs is replaced by convulsions.
  5. Reduced pressure, and body temperature.
  6. There is a faint, able to be replaced by a deep coma.
  7. Disturbed breathing.

A few minutes after poisoning, the pulse becomes thready, and the breathing is irregular. The heartbeat cannot be restored, even with resuscitation procedures.


If the poisoning occurred after inhalation of vapours, the victim must move to fresh air, remove his clothes, which were poisonous vapours. To eliminate dangerous symptoms can only doctor, because you need to call an ambulance. It is strictly prohibited during intoxication with phenol to induce vomiting. In this case there will be double chemical burn of the esophagus, which will cause a quick death.

For the adsorption of phenol is not absorbed need to give the victim 4-5 tablespoons of any vegetable oil. Additionally, the toxicologists recommended the administration of activated charcoal.

Further treatment is only possible in a hospital environment. Will be held detoxification therapy with the use of hemodialysis and hemosorption. To restore the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract used saline solutions with glucose. Phenol poisoning rarely remains without consequences for the person. It requires long-term rehabilitation with respect sparing diet, full refusal of Smoking and alcohol consumption.