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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION

  1. Perfluoroisobutylene (PFIB), a Teflon decomposition product, is the most toxic of the known fluoroalkene compounds, and has a toxicity 10 times greater than that of phosgene in experimental animals. It is colorless and a potent irritant of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.
    1. Acute human exposures have produced headache, cough, substernal chest pain, dyspnea and fever, followed by pneumonitis and pulmonary edema within several hours. Short exposures to high inhalational concentrations may result in death due to pulmonary edema within 24 hours. No cumulative toxicity is apparent following subacute exposures.
    1. Although polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) is inert under ordinary circumstances, when the polymer is heated under conditions of inadequate ventilation, polymer fume fever may result.
    1. Polymer fume fever is an influenza-like syndrome. When Teflon is heated to between 315 and 375 degrees C, inhalation exposure to the fumes can cause chills, fever, profuse sweating, cough, dyspnea, flu-like symptoms, and chest tightness, which are generally self-limited and last for 24 to 48 hours. Respiratory discomfort may persist for several weeks after an acute attack.
    1. If smoking tobacco is contaminated with even very small amounts of Teflon, polymer fume fever may result.
    1. Polymer fume fever is similar to metal fume fever, and occurs after inhalation exposure to the pyrolysis products of fluorocarbon polymers, especially polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). Pulmonary infiltrates are often seen in patients with polymer fume fever.
  1. PFIB is an edematogenic toxin, producing pulmonary edema, with symptoms of chest discomfort and shortness of breath.
  1. Teflon decomposition products are temperature dependent.
    1. At temperatures of 315 to 375 degrees C and up to 500 degrees C, Teflon decomposition products are primarily the monomer, tetrafluoroethylene, perfluoroisopropylene, other C4-C5 perfluoro-compounds, and an unidentified waxy particulate fume (which may be the etiologic agent for polymer fume fever).
    1. At decomposition temperatures of 500 to 800 degrees C, the principal decomposition product is CARBONYL FLUORIDE, which is hydrolyzable to CARBON DIOXIDE and HYDROGEN FLUORIDE.
      1. If exposure to these decomposition products is a possibility, refer to the CARBONYL FLUORIDE and HYDROFLUORIC ACID HAZARDTEXT Hazard Managements and the FLUORINATED HYDROCARBONS and HYDROFLUORIC ACID MEDITEXT Medical Managements for further information.
  1. It is possible that PFIB may be under development as a new generation of chemical warfare agents.
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