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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- WITH POISONING/EXPOSURE
- Chloroform can be a poison by ingestion and inhalation and experimentally is a poison intravenously. It is moderately toxic by the intraperitoneal and subcutaneous routes. The main route of absorption after occupational exposure is through inhalation. Percutaneous absorption is possible. Nonoccupational exposure occurs mainly through ingestion of drinking water and inhalation of contaminated air. Inhalational abuse occurs.
- Chloroform is an irritant; its main effect is as a CNS and cardiac depressant. Delayed renal and hepatic toxicity may also occur.
- General symptoms of exposure include nausea, vomiting, anorexia, drowsiness, giddiness, disorientation, fatigue, a fainting sensation, headache, chest pain, anesthesia, salivation, a sensation of bodily warmth, and frequent burning urination.
- Inhalation produces nose and throat irritation, dry mouth, thirst, a dazed feeling, lassitude, hallucinations, perceptual distortions, drunkenness, staggering, delirium, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal effects, and pupil dilation with decreased reaction to light.
- Short exposure to low vapor concentrations results in inebriation, excitation, narcosis, discomfort, and dizziness; higher concentrations may also produce hypotension, anoxia, loss of consciousness, cardiorespiratory depression and failure, and death. Inhalational abuse can result in psychotic behavior and brain degeneration.
- Ingestion of even small amounts (eg, 10 mL) can prove fatal. Initially, ingestion causes a burning sensation of the mouth and throat.
- Dermal contact results in irritation, burning pain, reddening, and vesiculation and dermatitis via defatting. Prolonged exposure can result in burns. Exposure of the eye to liquid chloroform produces a burning pain, tearing, conjunctival redness, and reversible injury to the corneal epithelium.
- Chronic exposure may cause dry mouth, headache, hallucinations, dysarthria, ataxia, loss of reflexes, gastrointestinal distress, hepatotoxicity, and psychotic behavior. Hepatotoxicity is not seen with chronic low-level exposure.
- Heating chloroform to decomposition produces the toxic fumes of hydrochloric acid and other chlorinated compounds.
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