Chlorinated lime poisoning
Chlorinated lime is a white powder used for bleaching or disinfecting. Chlorinated lime poisoning occurs when someone swallows chlorinated lime.
This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.
- Calcium hydroxide
- Calcium hypochlorite
This poison can be found in:
- Used in a number of manufacturing processes
Note: This list may not include all sources of chlorinated lime.
Chlorinated lime poisoning can cause symptoms in many parts of the body.
- Severe change in the acid level in the blood (pH balance), which leads to damage in all of the body organs
EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT
- Loss of vision
- Severe pain in the throat
- Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
- Blood in the stool
- Burns and possible holes in the throat (esophagus)
- Severe abdominal pain
- Vomiting blood
HEART AND CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
- Low blood pressure that develops rapidly
LUNGS AND AIRWAYS
- Breathing difficulty (from breathing in the chlorinated lime)
- Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
- Holes (necrosis) in the skin or tissues underneath
Seek medical help right away. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care provider.
If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a provider. DO NOT give water or milk if the person is having symptoms (such as vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.
If the person breathed in the poison, immediately move them to fresh air.
Before Calling Emergency
Get the following information:
- Person's age, weight, and condition
- Name of the product (and ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) 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.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:
- Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator)
- Bronchoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
- Chest x-ray
- EKG (heart tracing)
- Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
- Fluids through a vein (by IV)
- Pain medicine
- Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
- Washing of the skin (irrigation) -- perhaps every few hours for several days
- Surgical removal of burned skin (skin debridement)
How well a person does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster the person gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
This type of poison can cause severe burns inside the entire gastrointestinal tract.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) website. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. ToxFAQs for calcium hypochlorite/sodium hypochlorite. www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=928&tid=192. Updated October 25, 2011. Accessed December 9, 2017.
Levine MD. Chemical injuries. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 57.
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.