St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Nail polish poisoning

    Organic solvent syndrome; Psychoorganic syndrome; Chronic solvent encephalopathy

    This poisoning is from swallowing or breathing in (inhaling) nail polish.

    This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

    Poisonous Ingredient

    • Toluene
    • Butyl acetate
    • Ethyl acetate
    • Dibutyl phthalate

    Where Found

    • Various fingernail polishes

    Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

    Symptoms

    • Bladder and kidneys
      • Increased need to urinate
    • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
      • Eye irritation and possible eye damage
    • Gastrointestinal
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting
      • Abdominal pain
    • Heart and blood circulation
      • Chest pain
      • Irregular heart beat
    • Lungs
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Slowed breathing rate
      • Shortness of breath
    • Nervous system
      • Drowsiness
      • Balance problems
      • Coma
      • Euphoria
      • Hallucinations
      • Seizures
      • Stupor
      • Walking difficulties

    Home Care

    Do NOT make the person throw up. Seek immediate emergency medical care.

    Before Calling Emergency

    Determine the following information:

    • The patient's age, weight, and condition
    • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
    • The time it was swallowed
    • The amount swallowed

    Poison Control

    The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number 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.

    Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

    See: Poison control center - emergency number

    What to Expect at the Emergency Room

    The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

    • Breathing support
    • Blood and urine tests
    • Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
    • Fluids through a vein (I.V.)
    • Irrigation (washing of the skin and eyes), perhaps every few hours for several days
    • Medicines to treat symptoms
    • Skin debridement (surgical removal of burned skin)
    • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    How well a patient does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a patient gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery. Nail polish tends to come in small bottles, so serious poisoning is unlikely if only one bottle was swallowed. However, always seek immediate emergency medical care.

    Some people intentionally sniff nail polish to become intoxicated (drunk) by the fumes. Over time these people, as well as those working in poorly ventilated nail salons, can develop a condition known as "painter syndrome." This is a permanent condition that causes walking problems, speech problems, and memory loss. Painter syndrome may also be called organic solvent syndrome, psychoorganic syndrome, and chronic solvent encephalopathy (CSE). CSE can also cause nonspecific symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, mood disturbances, sleep disorders, and possible behavioral changes.

    Sudden death is possible in some nail polish poisoning cases.

    References

    Bruckner V, Satheesh S, Warren A, Warren AD. Toxic effects of solvents and vapors. In: Klaassen CD, ed. Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology: The Basic Science of Poisons. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2008:chap 24.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Nail polish poisoning

                Review Date: 8/3/2011

                Reviewed By: Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
                adam.com

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                History
                Mission
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs
                Assessment

                Newsroom
                Services
                Brain & Spine
                Cancer
                Heart
                Maternity
                Orthopedics
                Pulmonary
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                mystlukes
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Health Risk Assessments
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Volunteer
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                Careers
                Careers
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile