don't do this at home
October 27, 2006 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Inhaled a lot of WD40 last night. Will I be ok?

Forgot to open the window. Breathed in a lot of vapours, ended up feeling very woozy afterwards. Went to bed. Now I feel more or less ok. Any permanent effects to worry about?
posted by randomstriker to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
No. but don't do it again.

I have a long story about picking up a hitchiker during a snowstorm in '91. Upon getting into car, he seized a can of WD40 and started huffing it. Horrified, we watched as he took like 5-6 really long drags. He passes out and urinates on himself.

Buddy of mine stops car, jumps out, opens his door, grabs him by the feet and dumps him back on the side of the road. We drove off.
posted by unixrat at 11:03 AM on October 27, 2006 [2 favorites]

you dumped an unconscious man on the side of the road during a snowstorm?
posted by randomstriker at 11:14 AM on October 27, 2006 [2 favorites]

[derail] Dumping a seizing man on the road in a snowstorm is probably a pretty clear cut case of negligence. I wouldn't do that again. [/derail]

On topic, I'd imagine you're fine. Maybe some long term cancer risk has increased a infinitesimal part, but that's probably it.
posted by plaidrabbit at 11:21 AM on October 27, 2006

you dumped an unconscious man on the side of the road during a snowstorm?

By the time we stopped and pulled him out, he had come to and was slurring "F-ing kids, I'm gonna kill all you f-ing sh-theads blah blah blha." while being pulled out. As we drove away he was on his hands and knees puking on the side of the road.

This was northern Minnesota, between Eveleth and Virginia - he had a coat and hat - no gloves. Apparently walking home after a bender and decided to thumb a ride.

Like I said, long story.
posted by unixrat at 11:27 AM on October 27, 2006

WD-40 (pdf) Main ingredient: Stoddard Solvent , Chronic exposure may lead to central nervous system complications, blood changes (aplastic anemia, a rare occurrence that is potentially fatal), and dermatitis. Animal studies have indicated the potential for liver and kidney damage.

I've inhaled that stuff for years, and I'm not dead yet. Probably not a great habit though, unless you enjoy wetting yourself.
posted by Big_B at 11:27 AM on October 27, 2006

Solvent overdoses give me a splitting headache that comes and goes for a week to ten days. You might want to have some aspirin handy.
posted by Mitheral at 11:31 AM on October 27, 2006

You can reference the Material Safety Data Sheets for WD40 here. [2 page PDF file] Some relevant data excerpted from that source:

The major irritant information is:
Aliphatic Petroleum Distillates (Stoddard Solvent) lowest TLV (ACGIH 100 ppm.)

Symptoms of Overexposure
Inhalation (Breathing): May cause anesthesia, headache, dizziness, nausea and upper respiratory irritation.

First Aid Emergency Procedures:
Inhalation (Breathing): Remove to fresh air. Give artificial respiration if necessary.
If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
Pre-existing medical conditions such as eye, skin and respiratory disorders may be aggravated by exposure.
Aspiration Hazard: If swallowed, can enter lungs and may cause chemical pneumonitis.
Do not induce vomiting. Call Physician immediately.
Suspected Cancer Agent The components in this mixture have been found to be noncarcinogenic by NTP,
Yes___ No_x_ IARC and OSHA
posted by paulsc at 11:31 AM on October 27, 2006

You'll be ok - kids do it to themselves on purpose and they survive all the time. Just make sure to open the window next time!
posted by agregoli at 11:59 AM on October 27, 2006

WD40/Stoddard's Solvent is mostly kerosene. It contains a fair amount of alkylated benzenes. Primary toxicity is narcosis (dizziness, brown-outs). It's a mild halucinogen and long-term exposure causes permanent brain & liver damage---this is the major problem with recreational solvent and gas huffing.

WD40 isn't especially dangerous. A single exposure will slightly increase your risk for a couple of kinds of cancer and put additional short-term strain on your liver. Just use a mask with organic vapour filters next time and work in a well-ventiallted area. Nitrile or heavy butyl gloves aren't a bad idea either when working with solvents---kerosene degreases your skin too and can cause it to crack very painfully.
posted by bonehead at 6:33 PM on October 27, 2006

I used to live in Northern Minnesota, between Eveleth and Virginia. I would huff WD-40 until some kids threw me out of their car during a snowstorm. No ill effects other than occasional urination, and tendency to lose my gloves. I'd say you're safe.
posted by vaportrail at 9:45 PM on October 27, 2006 [4 favorites]

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