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Carbon Monoxide and Dioxins – Toxic Substances

by Pravin Shukle, MD
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    Carbon monoxide is a common toxic agent. It's usually culprit in suicide attempts where people will breath in exhaust fumes from a car. Carbon monoxide has an affinity for hemoglobin about two hundred times greater than oxygen. The threshold limit for a human is about 25 ppm in 8 hours. Now, consider that on a bad traffic day in LA, you're going to hit 100 ppm. In Mumbai India, you'll hit 400 ppm. And in Shanghai, you'll hit 800 ppm. So, you can see that there is a toxicity potential in terms of the environment. Carbon monoxide results in a significant amount of confusion. Sometimes, you can have decreased visual acuity. There is almost always tachycardia. There may be syncope, and eventually will result in coma and death. The classic sign of a carbon monoxide patient are those rose cheeks. You see a person come in, and they have those red rose cheeks, and they look like they're just a little bit hyperemic, almost always you can diagnose carbon monoxide just by looking at them. The first time you see a carbon monoxide poisoned patient, you'll almost never missed the next diagnosis. The treatment is always with hyperbaric oxygen, which is sometimes a problem in rural and remote areas. Sulphur dioxide is an agent that is in the air that sometimes can cause toxicity. It forms sulfurous acid on contact with some mucous membranes. 6 ppm will cause symptoms. Generally, it's irratation of those mucous membranes. So, you get conjunctival irritation and mucous membrane irritation. A classic picture is a person with red eyes and irritation of the nares or nasal cavity. Long term exposure may lead to pulmonary edema. And treatment is always supportive including anti-inflammatories and high levels of oxygen. Dioxin toxicity is an important consideration on the...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Carbon Monoxide and Dioxins – Toxic Substances by Pravin Shukle, MD is from the course Toxicology. It contains the following chapters:

    • Carbon Monoxide
    • Sulphur Dioxide

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Carbon monoxide
    2. Microparticles
    3. Heavy metals
    4. Oxygen displacement
    5. Respiratory acidosis

    Author of lecture Carbon Monoxide and Dioxins – Toxic Substances

     Pravin Shukle, MD

    Pravin Shukle, MD


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