October Newsletter

Case #1
A man called The Texas Poison Center Network because he had been working with concrete mix all day & got dry mix in his glove. He noticed at the end of the day that his hand and wrist were hurting and appeared to look burned. The poison information specialist who answered his call told him that dry concrete is corrosive meaning it can burn the skin. Since he had concrete mix in his glove all day, it caused a chemical burn. The man was referred to the emergency room for treatment of his burn wound. The poison center specialist followed up at the emergency room to make sure the man had recovered and was discharged.

Case #2
A woman called and said that she had gotten into some poison ivy while cleaning her yard. The specialist told her to wash all the areas exposed to the poison ivy with soap, warm water, and a towel. She was also advised to change her clothes. The specialist told her that the plant has a clear oil called urushiol that is very sticky to it needed to be washed off with the friction of a soapy towel to avoid a rash from forming.

Every year, Texas Poison Centers manage several calls for Halloween related substances such as candy, glow sticks, and face paint.
Here are a few tips:

Candy and Treats:  
  • The risk of injury or illness traced to candy each year is small but inspecting your child's candy for open wrappers or homemade treats prevents potential issues.
  • Many medicines look similar to candies, which can lead to deadly mistakes by children looking for a treat.
Glow Sticks: 
  • Remind children not to chew on or open glow sticks. Although the liquid in glow products is minimally toxic in small amounts, it can still cause skin & eye irritation. 
Cosmetics and Crafts: 
  • Be sure to test out face makeup in a small area on the arm to check for an allergic reaction before applying it to the face. 
  • Do not use paint on your face or body that is not intended for the skin.

It seems that no matter where you are in Texas, you'll run into some major and minor construction projects. These projects require thousands upon thousands of construction workers to keep our state growing. Construction workers are essential to keep these projects afloat but it comes with risk. Construction sites pose a risk of electrocutions, falls & even toxic exposures. Let's take a look at some of the common types of toxic exposures found at construction sites.

  • Cement is a widely used material for building and is available for both commercial and home use. It is a corrosive which means it can cause chemical burns to the skin, eyes, mouth & lungs. It is important to wear protective clothes & equipment when working with cement such as gloves, pants, & boots. Wash the area well if you are exposed to cement. If you breathe in dry cement dust, get fresh air immediately & call us right away at 1-800-222-1222!
  • Poisonous plants, bug bites & snake bites are not uncommon in a construction site especially near grassy, weed infested areas. Poison ivy, oak & sumac are the most common plants that cause an allergic reaction to the skin. Identifying these plants will be important to reduce your exposure. To avoid bug bites, use a DEET containing repellent & be sure to examine your body for ticks at the end of a work day. Watch where you place your hands & feet when removing debris from a construction site to avoid a snake encounter. Click here to order our bites & stings and poisonous plant brochure.
  • Lead exposure can happen on a regular basis for construction workers. Lead has been banned for household use for a long time, but it can still be found in many materials used in construction sites. Painters, ironworkers, demolition workers, welders, and laborers working on structures containing lead paint are at the highest risk of being exposed to lead. Since lead can be brought home & expose children, it is important to remove your clothes & wash them separately from your families clothes and shower before coming in contact with anyone.
  • Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide & several other gases can be lethal at the work site. People particularly in danger are those working near or within enclosed areas such as manholes, garages, tunnels, warehouses, vehicle repair shops, and those using heavy duty equipment. The Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA) limits exposure to many of these hazards in the workplace and provides guidance on how to minimize these risks.
  • Solvents are commonly found in paints, adhesives & cleaning fluids. Solvents are generally used in liquid forms and are used for a variety of purposes. Like many poisons, the level of exposure depends on the dose, duration and work being done. It is especially important to read the chemical labels and the Safety Data Sheets for hazard information on solvents to prevent injuries.

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