Cases of Accidental Hydrocarbon Ingestion Referred to the Malaysian National Poison Center

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Journal Title, Volume, Page: 
Journal of Medical Toxicology, 2012, Volume 8, Number 2, Pages :195
Year of Publication: 
2012
Authors: 
Sulastri S.
National Poison Center of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Nur Afni A.
National Poison Center of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Saed H.Z.
National Poison Center of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Current Affiliation: 
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Abdullah A.A.
National Poison Center of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Rahmat A.
National Poison Center of Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Preferred Abstract (Original): 

Objective: Hydrocarbons-based products are among the most common chemicals used in everyday life, thus a potential poisoning risk. Although most hydrocarbon products may not cause appreciable systemic effects but aspiration of hydrocarbons into the lungs can cause chemical pneumonitis which could result in moderate to severe lung injury. The aim of the study is to describe the pattern of accidental hydrocarbon poisoning reported to the National Poison Center (NPC) in Malaysia over a 4-year period.
Methods: All poisoning cases involving hydrocarbon-based products referred to NPC between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2009 were evaluated retrospectively. Reviewed data took into account the following factors: incidence, time of exposure, age category, route of uptake, and location of incident. SPSS version 15 was used for descriptive analysis of the data collected.
Results: Of the total 2,237 poisoning cases involving household products, 496 (22.2 %) cases were attributed to hydrocarbon products with 69 % unintentional and 30.6 % intentional cases been referred. There was an upward trends in accidental cases referred to the center from year 2006 with 75 (15.1 %) to 190 calls (38.3 %) in 2009. More than half of these cases involved children. The highest incidence was poisoning involving kerosene (40.9 %) followed by thinner (32.2 %), petrol (23.1 %) and others hydrocarbon-based product (3.8 %). Majority of these poisonings happened at home (93.9 %), and ingestion (98 %) was the commonest route of exposure.
Conclusion: Kerosene being the most common agent involve in hydrocarbon poisoning could be due to its clear properties which can be easily mistaken for water. The finding highlights the need to emphasize on proper labeling and storage of chemicals especially in home and its surrounding. Higher prevalence of poisoning among children also warrants a comprehensive action including educating parents on dangerous substances in home surroundings and the importance of proper storage to curb accidental poisoning.

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