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Trisodium phosphate poisoning

Sodium orthophosphate poisoning; Trisodium orthophosphate poisoning; TSP poisoning

Trisodium phosphate is a strong chemical. Poisoning occurs if you swallow, breathe in, or spill large amounts of this substance on your skin.

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.

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Poisonous Ingredient

Trisodium phosphate

Where Found

These products may contain trisodium phosphate:

Other products also contain trisodium phosphate.

Symptoms

Below are symptoms of trisodium phosphate poisoning or exposure in different parts of the body.

AIRWAYS AND LUNGS

ESOPHAGUS, STOMACH AND INTESTINES

EYES, EARS, NOSE, AND THROAT

HEART AND BLOOD

SKIN

Home Care

DO NOT make a person throw up.

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, give the person water or milk right away. DO NOT give water or milk if the person has symptoms that make it hard to swallow (such as vomiting or decreased alertness).

If the person breathed in the poison, move them to fresh air right away.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

Poison Control

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 national hotline 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 that contains trisodium phosphate with you to the hospital, if possible.

Treatment depends on how the poisoning occurred. The health care provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated. Pain medicines will be given.

For swallowed poison, the person may receive:

For inhaled poisons, the person may receive:

For skin exposure, the person may receive:

For eye exposure, the person may receive:

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well a person does depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment was received. The faster a person gets medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

Severe damage to the mouth, throat, eyes, lungs, esophagus, nose, and stomach are possible. The long-term outcome depends on the extent of this damage. Damage to the esophagus and stomach continues to occur for several weeks after the poison was swallowed. Death may occur as long as a month later.

Keep all poisons in their original or childproof container, with labels visible, and out of the reach of children.

References

Hoyte C. Caustics. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 148.

Wilkin NK. Irritant contact dermatitis. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 115.

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Review Date: 4/25/2019  

Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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