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First Aid for Anti-Rust Product Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 27, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Anti-Rust Product Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing, breathing-in, or skin contact) of rust-proofing compounds.

What is Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

  • Anti-rust products are substances used to protect iron and steel materials from rusting. Rust-proofing compounds may be in the form of liquid solutions or aerosol sprays. They are also known as anti-corrosion compounds
  • Anti-Rust Product Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (swallowing, breathing-in, or skin contact) of rust-proofing compounds
  • 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)

Anti-Rust Product Poisoning may be also referred to variously as the following:

  • Anti-Corrosion Product Poisoning
  • Anti-Rust Product Toxicity
  • Rust-Proofing Compound Poisoning

What are the Causes of Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

  • Anti-Rust Product Poisoning is caused by the ingestion, inhalation, or exposure of skin to anti-rust products
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Anti-rust products may be a toxic mixture of chemicals including acids, such as hydrochloric acid, oxalic acid, and phosphoric acid, nitrites, various hydrocarbons and chelating agents

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 Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Anti-Rust Product Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the vascular system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Anti-Rust Product Poisoning may include:

  • If the product is inhaled, it may lead to:
    • Coughing, wheezing
    • Asphyxiation, due to lack of oxygen
    • Breathing difficulties, if the fumes of the solution are inhaled
  • Severe burning and associated pain in the mouth, throat, and food-pipe (even the stomach may be burnt)
  • Severe skin irritation and burns (perforations on the skin may be observed)
  • Blurred vision; loss of vision
  • Severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting (blood in vomit)
  • Decrease in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Feeling dizzy, lack of coordinated movement
  • Low level of alertness, confusion
  • Collapse and coma

In case of severe complications due to inhalation of the toxic fumes, the following may be observed:

  • Chemical pneumonitis
  • Pleural effusion
  • Empyema
  • Respiratory failure
  • Hemorrhagic lung edema
  • Lung collapse
  • Development of secondary infections
  • Brain damage from reduced oxygen supply to the brain

Complications, when other parts of the body are affected include:

  • Blood disorder, known as methemoglobinemia
  • Renal failure
  • Severe changes in blood pH value affecting many parts of the body

How is First Aid administered for Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Anti-Rust Product Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, 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 skin exposure or involvement of the eye has occurred, then wash thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for at least 15 minutes)
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give water or milk to drink
  • In case of symptoms that indicate difficulty in swallowing including vomiting or decreased alertness, do not give anything by way of mouth
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support
  • Gastric lavage for elimination of the substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Administer suitable medication (methylene blue) to counter the effects of the toxic substance
  • Wash skin and eyes repeatedly and thoroughly (irrigation), to eliminate any remaining hazardous compound
  • Following this, a suitable skin or eye ointment may be used to treat the exposure
  • Surgical treatment for skin burns including removal of burnt skin
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

First aid for Anti-Rust Product 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)
  • 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 Anti-Rust Product Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Anti-Rust Product Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • Severe exposure of body organs (throat, gastrointestinal tract including stomach, liver) to the chemical can lead to complications and irreversible damage. In some cases, the damage may progress for weeks and months resulting in death
  • Damage to the brain may become irreversible, if timely oxygen therapy is not administered
  • If the chemical splashed into the eye, the outcomes depend on the extent of injury; permanent vision loss (in the injured eye) is a possibility

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 Anti-Rust Product Poisoning be Prevented?

Anti-Rust Product Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping any poisonous/hazardous chemicals and other materials out of children’s reach
  • Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)
  • Wearing appropriate protective wear when working with such chemicals
  • Keep all poisons correctly labeled and in suitable storage locations

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

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 9, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 27, 2018