If It Smells Rotten … Beware! Poison Toxic Tidbits

From ToxicTidbits a monthly publication of Maryland Poison Control Center, University of Maryland. You are standing near a sewer line and smell rotten eggs. You are helping to resuscitate a patient in cardiopulmonary arrest and smell bitter almonds. What is that odor? Volatilized chemicals that humans and animals perceive by the sense of smell  (olfaction) cause odors. Some odors are pleasant while others are unpleasant or even repulsive. An odor can serve as a warning of potential danger. In medicine, recognizing odors is an important skill. It can aid in rapid diagnosis, guide laboratory evaluation and may allow for early treatment before the development of more serious clinical signs … READ THE ARTICLE.

Chemical Suicides Create Dangerous Environments for First Responders

Three law enforcement officers in Georgia were hospitalized in May after being exposed to toxic fumes at the scene of a possible chemical suicide. Chemical suicides involve people mixing easily-attainable chemicals to produce a toxic gas, which can kill rather quickly. Often this is done in an enclosed space such as a car; occasionally people use “exit bags”: plastic bags placed over the head, connected to a gas supply. Instructions are,  unfortunately, readily available on the internet. In many but not all chemical suicide incidents, the victim leaves a written warning for whomever will find them. Typically, the first instinct when faced with an unconscious person in a car is to open a door or break a window; […]