Plastic resin hardener poisoning
Poisoning can occur from swallowing plastic resin hardener. Resin hardener fumes may also be poisonous.
This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.
Epoxy and resin can be poisonous if they are swallowed, or if their fumes are breathed in.
Plastic resin hardeners are found in various epoxy and resin products.
Below are symptoms of poisoning from plastic resin hardeners in different parts of the body.
AIRWAYS AND LUNGS
- Breathing difficulty (from breathing in fumes)
- Rapid breathing
EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT
- Severe pain in the throat
- Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
- Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
- Vision loss
- Voice changes, such as hoarseness or muffled voice
HEART AND BLOOD VESSELS
- Low blood pressure (develops rapidly)
- Collapse (shock)
STOMACH AND INTESTINES
- Severe abdominal pain
- Vomiting, possibly bloody
- Burns of the food pipe (esophagus)
- Blood in the stool
- Holes in the skin or tissues under the skin
Seek emergency medical help right away.
Contact poison control for further information. DO NOT make a person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to do so.
If the resin is on the skin or eyes, flush the area with water thoroughly for at least 15 minutes.
Before Calling Emergency
Have this information ready:
- The person's age, weight, and condition
- Name of product (as well as the ingredients and strength, if known)
- The time it was swallowed or fumes were breathed in
- Amount swallowed
Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The person may receive:
- Blood and urine tests
- Breathing support, including oxygen, tube through the mouth into the throat, and breathing machine (ventilator)
- Bronchoscopy (camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs)
- Endoscopy (camera down the throat to see burns to the esophagus and stomach)
- Chest x-ray
- ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)
- Eye irrigation
- Intravenous (IV, through a vein) fluids
- Medicine to treat symptoms
- Surgery to remove burned skin (debridement)
- Washing of the skin (irrigation) every few hours for several days
How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed or breathed in, and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Swallowing this type of poison can have severe effects on many parts of the body. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible.
The outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the poison was swallowed. Perforation (holes) may develop in these organs, leading to serious bleeding and infection. Death may occur up to a month later. Treatment may require removal of part of the esophagus and stomach.
Hoyte C. Caustics. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 148.
Pfau PR, Benson M. Foreign bodies, bezoars, and caustic ingestions. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 27.
Last reviewed on: 7/20/2021
Reviewed by: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.