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What are the effects of inhaling ethyl chloride?

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, short-term side effects of inhaling ethyl chloride include a feeling of drunkenness, lack of coordination and unconsciousness. Long-term exposure to high amounts of the chemical can also result in several neurological side effects such as slowed reflexes, ataxia, speech difficulty, tremors, involuntary eye movement and hallucinations.

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Full Answer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that the above side effects were reported from people who inhaled a great deal of ethyl chloride for a few months. Death was also reported when ethyl chloride was used as an anesthetic during major surgeries. However, side effects of long-term exposure to lower amounts of ethyl chloride are still ongoing. Tests on laboratory animals suggest adverse effects on vital organs such as the kidneys, lungs, liver and heart.

WebMD lists additional symptoms for long-term exposure to high amounts of ethyl chloride, including persistent nausea and vomiting; changes in the color of a person's urine; yellowing of the skin and eyes; stomach or abdominal pain; and unusual tiredness. WebMD also states that allergic reactions may occur with inhalation of the chemical. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include severe dizziness, rash, itching or swelling, especially in the face or throat and trouble breathing.

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