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. Benzoline is highly

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.

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