Petroleum And Paraffin-oil
Cases of poisoning by petroleum and paraffin are common, and occur
chiefly in children.
=Petroleum= is a natural product, and is a mixture of the higher
saturated hydrocarbons. The crude petroleum is purified by distillation,
and is then free from colour, but retains its peculiar penetrating
odour. Different varieties are sold under the names of cymogene,
gasolene, naphtha, petrol, and benzoline. Benzolin
inflammable, and is often called mineral naphtha, petroleum naphtha, and
petroleum spirit. Benzoline is not the same as benzene or benzol, which
is one of the products of the dry distillation of coal.
From its very general use as a fuel in motor-cars many accidents have
happened from inhaling the vapour of petrol. It gives rise to coldness,
shallow respiration, syncope, and insensibility, but seldom death.
=Paraffin=, also known as kerosene and mineral oil, is a mixture of
saturated hydrocarbons obtained by the distillation of shale.
By the retailer the terms 'petroleum' and 'paraffin' oil are used
indifferently, and each is sold for the other without prejudice.
Symptoms.--These substances are not very active poisons, and, as a
rule, even children recover. The breath has the odour of paraffin, the
face is pale and cyanotic, hot and dry, and there may be vomiting. Death
may result from gastro-enteritis or from coma.
Fatal Dose.--In the case of an adult, 1/2 pint should not prove
lethal, and patients have recovered after drinking a pint.
Treatment.--Emetics, purgatives, and stimulants.