Acrolein Poisoning Shorten His Life

Acrolein enters the air from the burning of fossil fuels and tobacco smoke. It forms when animal and vegetable fats are heated. It is also a by-product of fires and can be toxic to firefighters. Acrolein is mostly used to make acrylic acid. It is also used to control plant and algae growth in irrigation canals. Acrolein kills or controls microorganisms and bacteria in oil wells, liquid hydrocarbon fuels, cooling-water towers and water treatment ponds. In papermaking, acrolein is used to control slime.

Breathing low levels of acrolein can irritate the nose, nasal cavity, windpipe and voice box. Fluid build up in the lungs can also occur from breathing acrolein. In cases of severe breathing exposure, death could occur from damage to the lungs and respiratory system. Eating or drinking acrolein can cause burns to the lips, mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach. You could throw up or have diarrhea. If acrolein gets in the eyes, it can cause severe irritation or burns. Exposure to acrolein vapors can irritate the mucus membranes. Exposure to high levels of acrolein can also affect the central nervous system. Acrolein is named as a possible cancer-causing substance.

A four and a half year old boy was hospitalised with acute respiratory failure due to the inhalation during two hours of the smoke from an overheated frier. Oxygen, corticosteroids and furosemide led to clinical stabilisation but after 24 hours asphyxia developed. The trachea was found to be obstructed by a firm elastic substance which prevented intubation or bronchoscopy. Autopsy revealed massive cellular desquamation of the bronchial lining. The lumen was occupied by miscellaneous debris. There were multiple pulmonary infarcts. This is the second case of acute intoxication by acroleine. In the light of these two cases, treatment should consist of corticosteroids, antibiotherapy, inhalation therapy, and repeated bronchial aspiration. Unfortunately, this was classified as a case of acute acrolein poisoning. The boy did not live long and he left before being able to see the world.


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