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First Aid for Cyanoacrylates Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 28, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Cyanoacrylates adhesion/bonding can occur when the substance gets into contact with the skin or eyes. This may be accidental or intentional. A poisoning can occur if the chemical is swallowed.

What is Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

  • Cyanoacrylates are chemicals that form the key ingredients of super strong glues and adhesives. These are used for industrial, commercial, and domestic applications. Cyanoacrylates-based glues have short shelf life, are rapid-acting (stick within seconds), and very strong under tension
  • Cyanoacrylates adhesion/bonding can occur when the substance gets into contact with the skin or eyes. This may be accidental or intentional. A poisoning can occur if the chemical is swallowed
  • 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)

Cyanoacrylates Poisoning may be also referred to as the following:

  • Adhesion Material Poisoning
  • Bonding Material Poisoning
  • Crazy Glue Adhesion/Bonding
  • Cyanoacrylates Adhesion/Bonding
  • Cyanoacrylates Toxicity
  • Instant Glue Adhesion/Bonding
  • Krazy Glue Adhesion/Bonding
  • Power Glue Adhesion/Bonding
  • Super Glue Adhesion/Bonding

What are the Causes of Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

  • Cyanoacrylates Adhesion/Bonding takes place when the chemical falls on the skin or gets into the eye. Exposure of the eye/skin to the substance may cause injury
  • This could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • In some cases, cyanoacrylates may be ingested or swallowed resulting in poisoning. However, the substance is only mildly-toxic; and, it is very difficult to generally swallow “super glue”

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 Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Cyanoacrylates Poisoning or adhesion/bonding may include:

  • The chemical may stick to the skin; it may stick skin together
  • Skin allergies and burns, if large amounts are spilled on skin
  • When the eye is affected, the eyelids may stay shut or vision may be affected
  • The compound may also bond to the hair or scalp
  • Repeated exposure to cyanoacrylates vapors can cause flu-like symptoms

How is First Aid administered for Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Cyanoacrylates Poisoning:

  • In case of skin bonding:
    • Do not panic
    • DO NOT try to pull the skin apart (or peel of adhesive immediately), for this may cause considerable damage to the skin
    • Apply a good amount of vegetable oil to the area
    • If oil is not available, immerse the area in warm water with soap
    • Avoid using any kind of solvent, such as acetone or nail polish remover
    • Try to gently roll the skin apart, using a back and forth movement
    • Try to peel the chemical slowly from the edges
    • If this does not work, try to repeat the steps again and again (including applying oil)
    • If possible, try to slowly introduce a smooth instrument (such as a spatula, pencil, or smooth edge of a comb) in between the skin, to pry it gently apart
    • Apply a moisturizing cream to the area after the compound is removed; this can help avoid dryness
  • In case of bonding to the eye:
    • Do not panic
    • DO NOT try to pull the eyelids apart, for this may seriously injure the affected eye
    • Wash the eye with warm water immediately
    • Cover the affected eye with a wet cloth or gauze
    • Visit an eye expert immediately
    • In case, there are no available physicians, do remain calm. In most cases, the eye will automatically open within 1-4 days
  • In case the chemical affects the hair or scalp:
    • Wash hair and scalp with warm water
    • Apply copious amounts of vegetable or body oil to the region
    • Leave it for several hours (even a day or two); the adhesive will come off on its own
    • If the clogged hair can be safely cut without compromising too much on physical appearances, then it may be gently cut and removed
  • In case the chemical affects the mouth/lips:
    • DO NOT try to pull the lips apart
    • Wash generously with warm water
    • Use saliva from inside the mouth constantly to wet the spot
    • Try to push from within the mouth by using the tongue
    • After the lips part, apply oil to remove any remaining residual adhesive on skin
    • If an attempt has been made to swallow the chemical, then the ingested chemical immediately sticks to the base of the tongue or mouth. It is unlikely that substantial amounts of the substance is swallowed
    • The swallowed glue is known to detach within 1-2 days, due to the wetness inside the mouth
    • However, try to prevent them from being swallowed, once they detach
  • If necessary, take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the substance bottle/container to the ER

Who should administer First Aid for Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

The individual who is affected, or someone near should administer first aid, following which one should seek medical help, if necessary.

What is the Prognosis of Cyanoacrylates Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Cyanoacrylates Adhesion/Bonding is dependent on the amount of substance involved, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • In most cases, with proper first aid treatment and care, the chemical can be removed. Depending on the poisoning incident, it may take a few days for complete recovery. Nevertheless, the prognosis is generally good
  • If the eye is affected severely, then there may be permanent damage to the cornea resulting in loss of vision

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 Cyanoacrylates Poisoning be Prevented?

Cyanoacrylates Adhesion/Bonding can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any household products
  • Keeping such products out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • Be aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • DO NOT try to remove the chemical by force
  • Read product manufacturer’s instruction to treat any skin/eye/hair adhesion accident

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 30, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 28, 2018