Inhalation or aspiration of volatile low viscosity hydrocarbons can cause acute lung injury; ingestion of these chemicals can cause severe GI toxicity and multiorgan system failure. A 55-year-old man accidentally ingested a small amount of paint stripper. He presented to the Emergency Center one day post-ingestion with vomiting and non-bloody diarrhea. He also had bilateral infiltrates and hypoxemia consistent with a chemical pneumonitis. The sequence of events in this case suggests that he inhaled fumes from this volatile hydrocarbon during ingestion and this resulted in lung injury. He did not appear to aspirate liquid. Consequently, limited exposure to volatile hydrocarbons can cause lung injury.
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