Stoddard solvent is a flammable, liquid chemical that smells like kerosene. Stoddard solvent poisoning occurs when someone swallows or touches this chemical.
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.
These products contain Stoddard solvent:
- Dry cleaning fluids
- Paint thinner
- Stoddard solvent (mineral spirits)
- Toners used in copy machines
This list may not include all products containing Stoddard solvent.
Below are symptoms of Stoddard solvent poisoning in different parts of the body.
EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH, AND THROAT
- Burns in mouth
- Severe throat pain
- Severe pain or burning in the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth area
- Vision loss
STOMACH AND INTESTINES
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Burns in the food pipe (esophagus)
- Nausea and vomiting
HEART AND BLOOD
- Rapid heartbeat
- Collapse (shock)
LUNGS AND AIRWAYS
- Breathing difficulty (severe)
- Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
- Burning sensations
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Holes in the skin or underlying tissues
Get medical help right away. DO NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a provider tells you to.
If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
If the chemical was swallowed, immediately give the person water or milk, unless instructed otherwise by a provider. DO NOT give water or milk if the person is having symptoms (such as vomiting, seizures, or a decreased level of alertness) that make it hard to swallow.
If the person breathed in the poison, move them to fresh air right away.
Before Calling Emergency
Have this information ready:
- Person's age, weight, and condition
- Name of product
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Your local poison control 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 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 to the hospital with you, if possible.
The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.
Tests that may be done include:
- Bronchoscopy-- camera placed down the throat to look for burns in the airways and lungs
- Chest x-ray
- ECG (heart tracing)
Treatment may include:
- Fluids through a vein (by IV)
- Medicines to treat symptoms
- Skin washing with soap and water (if poison touches the skin)
- Flushing of the eyes with water (if poison touches the eyes)
- Surgery to remove burned skin
- Tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
- Breathing support, including tube through the mouth into the lungs, and breathing machine (ventilator)
How well the person does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster medical help is given, the better the chance for recovery.
Swallowing such poisons can have severe effects on many parts of the body. Burns in the airway or gastrointestinal tract can lead to tissue necrosis, resulting in infection, shock, and death, even several months after the substance is first swallowed. Scars may form in these tissues leading to long-term difficulties with breathing, swallowing, and digestion.
If Stoddard solvent get into the lungs (aspiration), serious and possibly permanent lung damage can occur.
Texsolve S poisoning; Varsol 1 poisoning
Aronson JK. Organic solvents. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:385-389.
Wang GS, Buchanan JA. Hydrocarbons. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 152.
Review Date 9/28/2019
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.