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It is exciting to see kids dipping their hands in paint and placing it on canvas forming cute handprints. During this activity, these kids would dip their hands in paint as part of the game and could end up swallowing these paints accidentally if not watched carefully. The common question among parents of these kids is Can you die from drinking paint?
As parents, if you’ve ever had to keep your kids busy and entertained with painting, it is clear how they have fun while providing you a gateway to their intellectual minds. It keeps them focused and also acts as a good bonding activity.
While all this fun is happening, it is very important to know the danger accompanied by every activity your kid indulges in. Parents often neglect this, causing a long-lasting effect on their kids, which they could avoid with more care.
Can Humans Drink Paint?
No, humans cannot drink paint. Exposure to paints could lead to skin, throat, eyes, or nose irritation, but the harm involved in drinking it is even worst, most especially the oil-based paints and when it is consumed, it leads to a shortage of breath, and also the lips of the person who drank it becomes blue.
It is even worst when consumed by a pregnant woman as drinking these paints could lead to the loss of life of both the mother and the baby. In contrast, if the paint consumed is a ‘non-toxic’ liquid paint, it might not lead to their deaths but will have some long-lasting effect on both the mother and child.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) stated that even when paints are labeled as ‘non-toxic’ due to the absence of Lead, it still has other harmful chemicals like Cobalt and Cadmium. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), no child has a safe blood lead level making even the most negligible consumption of Lead very harmful for them and could affect brain development.
Can You Die from Drinking Paint?
Yes, one can die from drinking paint, although it depends on the dosage and the type. It is made from combining different chemicals that are harmful to the health when consumed. These chemicals include Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Dibutyl, Benzene, and Formaldehyde. Drinking paint could lead to stomach aches, weakening of muscles, brain damage, seizures, saturnism, coma, and death.
Painting is also a relaxing and fun activity for both kids and adults as the process of spreading color on a paper canvas with their little finger is seen as a creative activity giving parents an outlet to keep their kids entertained. When painting to design a room, it is often advised to ensure your child or ward stays away from these paints as children could see these paints, rollers, ladders, and brushes as play materials.
These kids do not know the dangers involved and could end up rolling on it, dipping their hand in it, or getting some into their mouth, and if not noticed on time, it could cause the child’s death of some long-lasting effect.
How Long Does Paint Poisoning Last?
Paint poisoning could lead to death within twenty-four hours (a day), but if the person still survives after forty-eight hours (two days), then there is a good chance of that person recovering. Although, if there is damage to the lungs of kidneys during the consumption, the damage could be permanent or could heal after a few months.
Paint poisoning is caused when there is an intake of paint or paint fumes into your lungs or stomach from your mouth or nose, and it could start with symptoms like headache, joint pain, belly pain, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and if not treated on time could have long-lasting effects.
Related Reading: How Long Does Oil Painting Take to Dry?
What Are the Treatment Options for Paint Poisoning?
If the amount of paint consumed is small, water or milk should be drunk as first aid before contacting poison control. While waiting for the poison control, check the patient for diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
In cases of paint poisoning, where a large amount of paints has been consumed over a long period, the person should be rushed to the hospital for treatment. The medical personnel would measure their vital signs like temperature, breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse and monitor it while administering a medicine that would treat the symptoms and carry out some tests.
These tests include a Blood Lead test (Lead level test), Bone Marrow biopsy, Complete Blood Count and Coagulation study, Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin level, Bone and Abdomen X-ray. Apart from these tests, other treatments carried out but mostly rely on the results from these tests include Chelation therapy, Bowel Irrigation using polyethylene glycol solution, and Gastric lavage.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy: This test involve inserting a needle into the large bones to get the soft tissue found at its center (bone marrow) and taking a small sample to run the test. This test would help in the diagnosis and examination of the poisoning.
- Blood Lead Test: Blood would be taken from either the finger, arm, or heel and tested for the presence of Lead and its amount present in the blood. This blood test is usually a heel-prick or finger-prick test.
- Complete Blood Count: This blood test is used to check the complete organs of a patient, and it helps to detect a wide range of illnesses like leukemia, anemia, or any other infection. It gives a thorough evaluation of your blood, like the Red blood cells.
- Coagulation Test: This test is taken to check the patient’s ability to clot blood so the doctor can quickly assess the patient’s risk of excess bleeding within the blood vessels. Coagulation test is done by checking the thrombin time, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time.
- Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin Test: This test is done to determine if the patient has iron deficiency, as this could be caused by the Lead present in the paint. If there is an iron deficiency, it will elevate the erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) level.
- Bone and Abdomen X-Ray: This X-ray is carried out to check if the paint poisoning has led to the damage of any large bones or the abdomen or if there is a small metal object if the paint consumed was solid. This x-ray test is checked if the patient is continuously vomiting.
- Chelation Therapy: Chelation theraphy is a chemical process used in treating poisonings from heavy metal, which involves injecting EDTA into the bloodstream, which binds with harmful heavy minerals and metals like Lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and aluminum; and eliminating them. It is a very effective way to treat paint poisoning and also help by eliminating other diseases like atherosclerosis, although this therapy is not recommended for pregnant women.
- Bowel Irrigation: Bowel irrigation, also known as stomach flushing, is administered by filling a nasogastric tube with polyethylene glycol solution, and when it is introduced to the bowel, it stimulates it and flushes it. All of this is done within 30-45 minutes, emptying the lower part of the bowel.
- Gastric Lavage: Gastric Lavage, also known as Stomach pumping, is administered through an orogastric tube filled with a small volume of liquid to eliminate toxic substances in the stomach.
Knowing the answer to the question – can you die from drinking paint? is very important because you do not want to engage with what will put your life at risk. With this knowledge, you will watch out for this incident carefully in your kids. Every activity has its risk, and parents would be more careful with this knowledge.