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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Hydrogen selenide is a water soluble, colorless gas with a disagreeable, offensive odor resembling that of decaying horseradish. It can unite with most metals, forming metal selenides.
- Hydrogen selenide is irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. It can cause a garlic odor of the breath, a metallic taste in the mouth, pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, cough, chest pain, dyspnea, and cyanosis, dizziness, fatigue, lassitude, nausea, and vomiting.
- The systemic toxicity of HYDROGEN SELENIDE is similar to that of SELENIOUS ACID, as reflected in the following discussion. Hydrogen selenide is absorbed following inhalation; it is unclear whether or not systemic absorption can occur from dermal exposure to the gas.
- Hyperglycemia has been reported in one case of acute hydrogen selenide poisoning.
- A variety of gastrointestinal complaints, nail deformities, dental caries, conjunctivitis, and a garlicky odor to the breath have been noted in female workers chronically exposed to hydrogen selenide.
- Severe dyspnea and pneumo-mediastinum developed in a young man overexposed to hydrogen selenide; persistent obstructive and restrictive lung disease was noted as a sequela.
- Refer to the Selenious Acid management as necessary for more information.
- INGESTION EXPOSURE
- Patients ingesting selenious acid in gun blueing compounds have developed hypersalivation, a garlic odor of the breath, copious vomiting with or without hematemesis, diarrhea, restlessness, muscle spasms, elevated blood pressure, and tachycardia.
- Hypotension secondary to both low peripheral vascular resistance and toxic cardiomyopathy can occur and the resultant shock may be a cause of early deaths. Pulmonary edema may be seen.
- Esophageal, pharyngeal, and gastrointestinal tract burns or erosions have been described in many cases of ingestion. Seizures and coma have also been noted following acute ingestion.
- A peculiar orange-brown discoloration of the skin and viscera has been noted in fatal ingestions. Liver and kidney injury may occur.
- INHALATION EXPOSURE
- Inhalation exposures are to fumes of selenium dioxide (selenium oxide), and have produced bronchospasm, coughing, gagging, and a transient loss of consciousness in some cases.
- The initial symptoms following inhalation exposure are a sensation of constriction in the chest, irritation and a burning sensation in the upper respiratory tract, coughing, gagging, nausea and vomiting, a burning sensation of the skin, conjunctivitis, and a bitter acid taste in the mouth.
- Tachycardia, tachypnea, and mild hypotension may also occur.
- The acute phase symptoms may then subside following cessation of exposure, but secondary symptoms may develop over the following two to 12 hour hours consisting of chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, headache, fever, cyanosis, respiratory distress, bronchospasm, leukocytosis, and chemical pneumonitis with pulmonary infiltrates and atelectasis.
- Those patients who received less first aid in the form of oxygen inhalation immediately after cessation of exposure seemed to develop the worst secondary symptomatology.
- DERMAL EXPOSURE
- Dermal exposures to selenium dioxide (selenium oxide) can produce dermatitis and paronychia. Precipitation of small amounts of amorphous selenium in the tissues can cause a red staining of the fingers, teeth, and hair.
- Dermal burns can result from skin contact, and systemic absorption may occur through denuded areas. Necrotizing skin lesions can occur if selenium dioxide gets inside rubber gloves. Liver and kidney injury can follow serious poisoning from dermal exposure.
- If this compound penetrates beneath the free edge of the fingernails, excruciating pain may result.
- EYE EXPOSURE
- Conjunctivitis or corneal burns may occur with eye splashes. Workers exposed to selenium dioxide dust have developed an allergic type of conjunctivitis.
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