CAS RN: 75-44-5

Agent Specific


Phosgene Specific Triage

  • Immediate irritant effects such as conjunctivitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, lacrimation, blepharospasm conjunctival hyperemia, and upper respiratory tract irritation may occur after exposure to concentrations of 3 to 5 ppm.
  • Severe pulmonary toxicity may develop after exposure to higher concentrations or following exposures for longer periods of time.
  • A phosgene casualty who develops respiratory distress within 4 hours of exposure has probably inhaled an LD50 dose and is at severe risk if not properly supported.
  • Signs and symptoms of toxicity may be delayed, although rare, for 24 to 72 hours and include choking, chest tightness, cough, severe dyspnea, production of foaming bloody sputum, and pulmonary edema. Non-respiratory symptoms include nausea and anxiety. Cardiac failure has occasionally occurred as a complication of severe pulmonary edema. Concentration-response guidelines include:
  • Victims with inhalation doses of < 25 ppm/min and without clinical signs and symptoms require no immediate medical attention. Exposure to a cumulative dose of 50 ppm x minutes may cause pulmonary edema; a dose of 150 ppm x min will probably cause pulmonary edema and a dose of 300 ppm x min is likely to be fatal.
  • Brief exposure to 500 ppm or greater may be rapidly fatal. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations (e.g. 3 ppm for 170 min) can also be fatal. Exposure to concentrations less than 3 ppm may not be immediately accompanied by irritant symptoms; delayed effects usually occur within 24 hrs of exposure.
  • Victims with unknown phosgene exposure must be closely observed.
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