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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Sodium arsenite is a trivalent, inorganic arsenical compound. It is a white or greyish powder solid.
- Sodium arsenite can cause acute and chronic arsenic poisoning following ingestion, inhalation, or dermal exposure. It is a known human carcinogen and mutagen, and has caused teratogenicity and adverse reproductive effects in experimental animals. It is advisable to treat all arsenic compounds as highly toxic.
- Acute arsenic ingestion generally produces symptoms within 30 to 60 minutes, but symptom onset may be delayed for several hours if ingested with food. A metallic or garlic taste, vomiting, abdominal pain, dysphagia, and profuse watery (rice-water-like) and sometimes bloody diarrhea may occur. Dehydration, intense thirst, and fluid-electrolyte disturbances are common. Hypovolemia from capillary leaking ("third spacing" of fluids) is a common early event.
- Systemic arsenic poisoning from occupational exposure is uncommon. Arsenic workers have developed a hoarse voice, nasal irritation and possibly perforation of the nasal septum, irritation of eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, and rarely, cirrhosis of the liver. Nausea and vomiting are infrequent complaints among arsenic workers. Painful ulceration of the wrist and scrotal skin, lips, and nostrils may develop with dust exposure.
- Initially, the primary target organs are the gastrointestinal tract, heart, brain, and kidneys. Eventually, the skin, bone marrow, and peripheral nervous system may be significantly damaged. Peripheral neuropathy appears similar regardless of the route of exposure.
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