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Glaze poisoning

Definition

Glazes are products that add a shiny or glossy coating to a surface. Glaze poisoning occurs when someone swallows these substances.

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.

Poisonous Ingredient

The harmful substances in glaze are:

  • Hydrocarbons (including basalt, borax frit, and zinc oxide)
  • Lead

Where Found

Various glazes contain these substances, including paints and ceramic glazes.

Other types of glazes also contain these substances.

Symptoms

Below are symptoms of glaze poisoning in different parts of the body.

EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT

KIDNEYS AND BLADDER

  • Decreased urine output
  • Kidney damage

STOMACH AND INTESTINES

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

HEART AND BLOOD

MUSCLES AND JOINTS

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Paralysis
  • Weakness

NERVOUS SYSTEM

SKIN

  • Pale skin
  • Yellow skin

Note: These symptoms generally occur only in repeated poisonings over a long period of time.

Home Care

Get medical help right away. Do NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to. If the glaze is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

If the person swallowed the glaze, give them water or milk right away, if a provider tells you to do so. Do NOT give anything to drink if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow. These include vomiting, convulsions, or a decreased level of alertness. If the person breathed in glaze fumes, move them to fresh air right away.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (and ingredients, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

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

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

The provider will measure and monitor the person’s vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated.

The person may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs, and breathing machine (ventilator)
  • Bronchoscopy: camera down the throat to see burns in the airways and lungs
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (electrocardiogram or heart tracing)
  • Endoscopy: camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
  • Fluids through a vein (IV)
  • Medicine called an antidote to reverse the effect of the poison
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
  • Surgery to remove burned skin
  • Washing of the skin (irrigation), perhaps every few hours for several days

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well someone does depends on how severe their poisoning is and how quickly they receive treatment. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery. Damage can continue to occur for several weeks after swallowing glaze. Permanent brain damage may occur.

References

Gummin DD. Hydrocarbons. In: Adams JG, ed. Emergency Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 152.

Lee DC. Hydrocarbons. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 158.

Mirkin DB. Benzene and related aromatic hydrocarbons. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 94.

Rusyniak DE, Arroyo A, Froberg B, Furbee B. Heavy metals. In: Vincent J-L, Abraham E, Moore FA, Kochanek PM, Fink MP, eds. Textbook of Critical Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 178.

Shannon MW. Lead. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 73.

Sue YJ, Pinkert H. Baby powder, borates, and camphor. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 99.

Zosel AE. General approach to the poisoned patient. In: Adams JG, ed. Emergency Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 143.


Review Date: 11/4/2015
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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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