What is 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
- 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (or 4-MCHM) is a chemical that is used in certain industries for purification of coal for metallurgical operations and blending gasoline
- 4-MCHM is a colorless liquid, which has a sweet smell, like licorice. It is highly soluble in organic solvents but slightly soluble in water due to its oily consistency
- Ingestion or exposure to 4-MCHM can lead to 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning. This may be accidental or intentional
- The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)
4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning may be variously referred to as:
- 4-MCHM Poisoning
- 4-MCHM Toxicity
- 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Toxicity
- 4-Methylcyclohexylmethanol Poisoning
- 4-Methylcyclohexylmethanol Toxicity
What are the Causes of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
- Exposure to 4-methylcyclohexane methanol usually takes place through contaminated water that affects one’s skin and/or eyes. The compound may be ingested or inhaled
- 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
The signs and symptoms of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:
- Eye irritation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Headache, dizziness
- Skin irritation, redness with itching
- Respiratory tract irritation causing burning sensation
- Breathing difficulty
Vapors released at elevated temperatures can cause eye irritation and respiratory tract irritation.
How is First Aid administered for 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
First Aid for 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning:
- Call 911 or your local emergency help number, for emergency assistance
- Call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
- Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
- Carefully remove the individual from the exposure area; move them to region of fresh air immediately
- Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
- If the person is unconscious, move them sideways to avoid choking. Start CPR, if not breathing
- Determine the mode, time of exposure, patient’s age, weight and general health status
- If exposure of the skin has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for 15 minutes)
- Eye irritation: Flush eyes with clean water for 15 minutes. If possible, remove contact lenses
- Remove clothes and shoes exposed to 4-MCHM. Destroy or thoroughly clean exposed clothes and shoes
- Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
- Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:
- Monitor vital signs
- Medical treatment is usually symptom management and might include relieving respiratory distress with nebulizer breathing treatments and/or artificial respirator if indicated
- Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line
- Medical management of nausea and diarrhea
- Administration of activated charcoal to avoid systemic absorption of the chemical into the body
Who should administer First Aid for 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
First aid for 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.
- The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
- The person exposed to 4-MCHM should try to limit exposure and begin first aid before further treatment at a medical facility is sought
- They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions
What is the Prognosis of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning?
- The prognosis of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning is dependent on the extent of exposure, severity of symptoms displayed, and time from exposure to treatment
- Individuals with severe exposure and symptoms may have a poorer prognosis than those with milder exposures presenting less severe symptoms
In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.
How can 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning be Prevented?
4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol Poisoning may be prevented by considering the following steps:
- Do not drink water that is exposed to 4-methylcyclohexane methanol
- Do not shower, brush teeth, or cook with water exposed to 4-MCHM
- Boiling contaminated water does not eliminate 4-MCHM effectively; use bottled water if your water supply is exposed to the chemical compound
- Keep all poisons correctly labeled and in suitable storage locations
- Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)
What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?
- Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
- Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
- It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
- Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
- Age and weight of the individual
- And, the overall health status of the individual