Chemical pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs or breathing difficulty due to inhaling chemical fumes or breathing in and choking on certain chemicals.
Some of the most common dangerous, inhaled substances include:
Chronic chemical pneumonitis can occur after only low levels of exposure to the irritant over extended periods of time. This causes inflammation and may lead to stiffness of the lungs, which decreases the ability of the lungs to get oxygen to the body. Unchecked, this condition may ultimately lead to respiratory failure and death.
Chronic aspiration of acid from the stomach can also lead to chemical pneumonitis.
Christiani DC. Physical and chemical injuries of the lungs. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 94.
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