Phosgene Inhalation Injuries

Texas Phosgene Inhalation Injuries Attorney

Nearly a century ago, phosgene was used as a chemical warfare agent in World War I. These days, phosgene is widely used as what is called a chemical intermediate, used primarily for the preparation of a number of organic chemicals, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals, insecticides and some polymers.

Because of concerns over safety, companies using phosgene in their processes will almost always produce and consume the chemical within the same plant, and they will undertake strong measures to contain its toxic gas.

As one could probably guess from its use as a chemical weapon once upon a time, phosgene is an extremely toxic gas. In almost all cases of exposure, phosgene is inhaled, since it is a gas at room temperature. The gas has an odor that has been described as similar to “wet hay,” but it sometimes sneaks up on its victim before the odor is even noticed. That is why most workers toiling around the chemical wear phosgene detection badges to keep themselves and other workers safe.

Breathing in even a small amount of phosgene has been known to cause terrible and lasting damage to the human body. Among the possible effects of even short exposures to phosgene can range from eye and skin irritation and burning, all the way to a fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and it can even lead to the destruction of lung tissue (emphysema). In some cases, exposure can result in death. While it is possible for those who endure long-term chronic inhalation exposure to phosgene to develop a bit of a tolerance to the chemical, such exposures can also result in irreversible pulmonary damage, including chronic emphysema and fibrosis.

Among the initial symptoms of phosgene exposure include a possible fluid buildup in the lungs. If that doesn’t happen, recovery is more likely. Some people who are exposed to phosgene, however, may be more sensitive to airborne irritants. They may also be at greater risk for lung infections, or even reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS).

If you or a loved one has become sick or died, and you believe that exposure to phosgene as part of your job, get medical help as soon as possible. Then contact the Houston and San Antonio, Texas Workplace Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm to discuss your legal options and to protect your rights.