Enamel paint poisoning

16 January 2018
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16 January 2018, Comments: 0

Enamel paint is a widely-used alkyd resin, water or oil-based paint utilized for hard surfaces including masonry, concrete, metal and wood. Poisoning can occur by accident or intentionally by swallowing or inhaling the vapors.

Poisoning can occur via ingestion of the paint. If it enters the eye, it can trigger eye-related issues. Some of the toxic components present in enamel paint include polyester resins, natural oils, benzene, lead-based compounds, xylene, toluene, synthetic pigments, volatile organic compounds, thickeners, ultraviolet stabilizers and texturizers.

What are the indications?

The indications that might arise if an individual is suspected with enamel paint poisoning ranges from minor to severe.

The general signs that might arise include:

  • Inflammation of the throat can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Pain and burning sensation in the mouth, esophagus and throat

    Enamel paint poisoning

    In case the paint enters the eyes, it should be thoroughly washed with large amounts of water.

  • Respiratory issues that can be serious if the paint was inhaled
  • Dry nose, nosebleed and dry cough if inhaled
  • Headache and weakness
  • Choking on the paint if ingested can result to significant respiratory distress
  • Blood-streaked stools
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Erratic heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Visual irregularities including vision loss
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • Low response level
  • Skin blisters from prolonged contact with the paint
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma


Once an individual is suspected of ingesting enamel paint, the initial step is to call for emergency assistance right away. If poison control center is called, carefully follow the instructions provided.

  • Check if the individual is breathing and has a pulse rate after transferring him/her to an area with fresh air right away.
  • In case the paint enters the eyes, it should be thoroughly washed with large amounts of water. If the skin was exposed, it must be washed as well.
  • If the paint was ingested, immediately provide milk or water to drink. On the other hand, do not provide anything orally if the individual has difficulty swallowing especially when vomiting or has diminished level of alertness. In addition, do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
  • Once the individual is taken to the emergency department, make sure that the container of the paint is taken along.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on enamel paint poisoning is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.

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