Home / All kinds of toxins and poisons are dangerous to humans / Chemical poisons / What is thallium, the effect of this poison on man

What is thallium, the effect of this poison on man

Thallium is a silvery-white color with a blue tint. To recognize the taste and smell impossible. But hardly anyone dares to try this stuff. Because thallium is a poison, and a high level of toxicity akin to lead and arsenic. Poisoning with large doses is often fatal. With the gradual effects on the body tends to accumulate in the kidneys, lungs, liver and brain. Leads to irreversible changes in organs and systems, it is extremely difficult to eliminate is served.


Due to the unique physico-chemical properties of thallium compounds are frequently used in industry:

  • in the manufacture of night vision goggles and optical lenses;
  • in the study of mineral rocks, ores;
  • in nizkogradusnoyi of laboratory thermometers.
  • in the composition of the electrically conductive substances and mixtures;
  • in pyrotechnic industry;
  • in the composition of fluorescent paints;
  • in the production of pesticides for the treatment of plants and poisons for rodents;
  • in the light industry for processing of paper products and textiles (thallium is used in the form of a radioactive isotope);
  • in the manufacture of artificial precious minerals.

The method of thallium activated alkaline earth phosphate is used in some physiotherapy procedures, providing thermal effect on people. And compounds of thallium are of interest as adjuvant treatment for ringworm. But due to the high degree of toxicity of a metal in wide use in medical practice thallium is a poison – not found.

The causes of poisoning

Thallium poisoning can be of different nature and to manifest itself in both acute and in the chronic form. Often in medical practice, faced with an acute form of the disease. Often in the hospital children, inadvertently or in experiments as swallowing poison for rodents or granules of pesticides, which contains a deadly toxin.

The chronic form of the disease is characteristic for people working in production and daily contact with a poisonous substance. Most exposed to risks people employed in the smelting of ores, the roasting of pyrites, coal combustion and produce cement. The penetration of the toxin into the body mainly through the respiratory tract. Perhaps the consumption of foods that are covered with dust with impurities of poison.

In the history of criminology, described many cases of suicide and murder using a toxic substance.

Symptoms of acute thallium poisoning

In the acute form of poisoning most symptoms manifest a few hours after contact with a poison in the body. Times may vary and will depend on the dosage. In contrast to the usual food poisoning toxic effect of poison is characterized by more severe manifestations:

  • On the part of the gastrointestinal tract marked by severe pain in the epigastric region, nausea, frequent episodes of vomiting, loose stools mixed with blood.
  • The defeat of the peripheral nervous system manifested by tremors of the extremities, increased blood pressure, palpitations, muscle pain and General weakness.

The duration of this period is not more than 6 hours of receipt of thallium in the body. If at this stage the person will not be provided medical treatment, toxins are absorbed from the stomach and continue to affect the nerve cells of the body. There are new symptoms, worsening with every minute:

  • disorder, confusion;
  • loss of stability and coordination of movements;
  • cramps;
  • loss of vision due to paralysis of the eye muscles.

If the dosage is poisonous substances were critical at the last stage we are talking about the multiple lesions of nerves and nerve endings. The scenarios can be various, but none of them is advantaged (stroke, heart attack, coma).

Death from thallium is in the use of doses of 600 mg. the Possibility to save a patient at this dose of poison is zero.

The clinical course of chronic poisoning

With regular ingestion of thallium compounds in the minimum dosage symptoms of poisoning begin to appear later and are less pronounced. If working in harmful conditions, the person starts to experience headaches and weakness in the body, you must immediately contact the infectious diseases. Perhaps the fears are unfounded, but completely eliminate the chance of poisoning is not worth it.

If the poison continues to accumulate in the body and poison it, gradually the patient's condition will increasingly deteriorate. Among the clinical signs of chronic thallium poisoning are:

  • persistent cough, dyspnea, in the later stages may develop pulmonary edema, paralysis of the muscles of the respiratory system;
  • pain in region of heart, jumps in blood pressure, tachycardia;
  • rash on various parts of the body, non-healing dermatitis;
  • the appearance of white patches on the nails;
  • hair loss on head, hair loss may also affect the eyebrows andeyelashes;
  • in men, disrupted reproductive system, occurs impotence;
  • the decrease in visual acuity, complete loss due to atrophy of the retina.

The sharp deterioration of health notes in the last stages of the disease, when to help a person is already extremely difficult. Possible death due to pulmonary edema, stroke, heart attack, coma.

During the chronic signs of disorder of the digestive system do not exist. The likelihood intestinal bleeding and frequent episodes of vomiting are minimal.


At the first symptoms is difficult to establish that their expression is provoked directly by the thallium. Because clinical manifestations are similar to many other diseases, including pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, at diagnosis it is very important to pay attention to the patient questioning of his place of work and possible contact with toxic substance.

To confirm the suspicions and take action helps a urine test and a blood test. During studies of blood revealed increased content of urea and studied the urine shows the presence of a specific toxin. Appropriate conduct and radiography. In the lumen of the x-rays revealed not only fallen with the food substance and the prescription of its use from the calculation of the level of its location in the digestive tract.


In acute thallium poisoning first aid to the victim based on gastric lavage to prevent the entry of toxins into the General circulation. As the poison spreads quickly through the body, a procedure is recommended, before the arrival of ambulance crews. Also at home you can take a laxative preparation to cleanse the bowel of toxins and diuretics to enhance excretion of thallium in the urine.

Treatment of acute thallium poisoning is performed in a hospital. At the initial stage of therapy is aimed at removing from the body the toxic substances in unchanged form, and its decomposition products. After that, the patient is prescribed an antidote that neutralizes the effects of poison. In this case, the role acts as an antidote Prussian blue, promotes the removal of residues of thallium together with feces.

As auxiliary agents in the treatment of poisoning are the following:

  • multiple sessions of hemodialysis to support the work of the kidneys;
  • intravenous potassium supplements to prevent reverse suction of toxins in the ducts of the urinary system;
  • for violation of respiratory function the patient is lobeline hydrochloride intravenously or intramuscularly;
  • preparations for the normalization of cardiac activity for arrhythmia and tachycardia;
  • to eliminate the symptoms of disorders of the nervous system applied the b vitamins.

Possible consequences, prevention

Prolonged toxicity of thallium compounds can threaten impotence, infertility and the risk of having a child with congenital abnormalities.

The effects of poisoning can also be attributed to chronic diseases of the digestive tract, respiratory diseases, psycho-emotional disorders, hormonal disturbance.

Very high risk of death due to myocardial infarction or stroke even after rehabilitation inpatient treatment.

Timely assistance provided and the content of low doses of poison to the period of complete excretion of thallium is about 2-3 months. And it provided a strong healthy body to poisoning.

Given such not iridescent prospects, in terms of working with a poisonous substance should exercise the utmost caution. If your professional activities directly related to the compounds of thallium, it is necessary to observe precautions:

  1. If safety stipulates the use of personal protective equipment and the wearing of special clothing, do not neglect these regulations. Respirator and gloves can save your life, and this is no exaggeration.
  2. At the end of the working day immediately take a shower to wash the remnants of toxic substances.
  3. In the workplace can not eat or drink. Dust particles of thallium easily settles on all surrounding objects, including food products.
  4. Twice a year, go through medical examinations. And do it not for the stamp in a health book, and for your health.

And watch out for their children. Too frequent deaths due to careless handling of chemicals. And the mortality rate in young patients is very high. After all, their fragile body are the hardest to deal with severe organ impairment.