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Persons using assistive technology might not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please send e-mail to: mmwrq cdc. Type Accommodation and the title of the report in the subject line of e-mail. Between March and Decembersix of seven children from a family of nine developed lead toxicity from chronic sniffing of gasoline Table 3.
The children ranged in age from 10 years to 17 years; five of the six were boys. Health officials became aware of the problem after neighbors complained that the children were stealing gasoline. Attempts to control their behavior by issuing locking gas caps and providing family and individual counseling were unsuccessful.
Neither the parents nor an older sister, who denied sniffing gasoline had elevated blood lead levels. The family Sniffing gasoline to get high in Virginia on an isolated lot in a rural, coastal county on the Chesapeake Bay. Despite a thorough investigation that included analyses of water, paint, and soil samples, no environmental source of lead other than gasoline could be identified. Abandoned automobiles, gardening machinery, and storage cans containing gasoline were easily accessible to the children. One of the older boys introduced the practice to his siblings after discovering the effects of inhalation while siphoning gasoline.
The children would sniff the fumes for minutes until feeling the acute effects, which included euphoria, lethargy, loss of appetite, slurred speech, and blurred vision. These symptoms usually lasted several hours. One child reported occasional headaches and vomiting shortly after sniffing the gasoline. Frequency of usage varied for each child, ranging from once a month to several times weekly.
All the children tended to increase the frequency of sniffing during the summer months when they were out of school, and their activities were less supervised. Blood lead values obtained for three of the children during showed an increase from February through December. A similar trend during the same period was seen in the other family members who reported sniffing gasoline. In Novembera physician found s of dysdiadochokinesia dysfunction of ability to carry out rapidly alternating movements in two of the children, whereas the other four had normal physical examinations.
After hospitalization and treatment, their blood lead levels decreased and the children were placed in supervised foster homes. Since placement, all have reportedly stopped sniffing gasoline. It is an organic compound first introduced during the s as a gasoline additive because of its antiknock properties 1. After absorption through inhalation, TEL is metabolized to triethyl lead and then converted to inorganic lead 2. Gasoline additives are a ificant source of lead in the environment, and reduction of the lead content of gasoline has been associated with decreases in blood lead levels in the U.
Recently, the U. Environmental Protection Agency announced, effective Januarya fold reduction in the standard allowable for lead in gasoline, from 1. reports of lead toxicity from gasoline sniffing have been of American and Canadian Indians 2,5. The acute effects of inhaling gasoline, which may be caused by TEL or other volatile hydrocarbons found in gasoline, have reportedly been similar to those found in the Virginiren 6. More severe effects in those with higher blood lead levels have included seizures and acute metabolic encephalopathy 2.
Chronic gasoline sniffing can result in ificant lead toxicity, which may go undetected until severe medical problems arise. Besides providing medical care for lead toxicity, health-care providers need to understand the social and cultural factors influencing young people to abuse chemicals and drugs 5.
The most common source of lead in lead poisoning is lead-based paint. As evidenced by this report, older children and adolescents are also at risk of lead toxicity from different sources of lead in the environment 7.
Rosner D, Markowitz Sniffing gasoline to get high. A 'Gift of God'? Am J Public Health ; Lead toxicity secondary to gasoline sniffing among Navajos--Arizona. MMWR ; Chronological trend in blood lead levels between and N Engl J Med ; Environmental Protection Agency. Regulation of fuels and fuel additives; gasoline lead content. Federal Register ; Remington G, Hoffman BF. Gas sniffing as a form of substance abuse. Can J Psychiatry ; Keenlyside R. The gasoline sniffing syndrome. In: Grandjean P, Grandjean E, eds. Biological effects of organolead compounds.
Preventing lead poisoning in young children: a statement by the Centers for Disease Control--January Atlanta, Georgia: U. Department of Health and Human Services, This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U. Contact GPO for current prices. Department of Health and Human Services. Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Gasoline Sniffing and Lead Toxicity among Siblings -- Virginia Between March and Decembersix of seven children from a family of nine developed lead toxicity from chronic sniffing of gasoline Table 3.
References Rosner D, Markowitz G.Sniffing gasoline to get high
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Gas sniffing as a form of substance abuse