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Chris C.
Chris C., Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience:  Nurse with with 10+ yrs. in wellness care, geriatrics, hospice and acute care.
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Customer Question

Yesterday I was filling my gas tank and accidentally dropped  gasoline all over my jeans. My jeans ended up smelling like gas. I drove around like this and breathed in the gas fumes from my jeans for 40 mins. When I got home, I had a slight headache and had red eyes. Did the gasoline fumes damage my health? 

Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Chris C. replied 10 months ago.

Chris C. :

Volatile hydrocarbons like gasoline, paint thinner, etc. can cause temporary discomfort but do not normally cause any lasting negative health problems. Did you open the windows while you were driving or at least open it a small amount?

Customer:

yeah i opened my window all the way

Customer:

my driver seat window

Chris C. :

Ok so the exposure while unpleasant to the nose and eyes would not have been high. Damage is only really a concern if the concentration of gasoline vapors is high (like in a closed vehicle, etc) and the duration is long. Most damage caused by gasoline or similar products is due to intentional inhalation of high concentrations in order to get "high". This limited exposure and the continual changes of air with the open window would not allow a high concentration to build up. The small is not really a good indicator if the concentration of the amount you are breathing in.

Chris C. :

You would be exposed to about the same amount of vapor if you were to go to a professional car race and sat on the bleachers.

Chris C. :

So there is no concern of a permanent health issue.

Customer:

how long of a duration do you mean? like days ? or months?

Chris C. :

First you would need a high concentration like a car or garage sealed with no fresh air coming in. Second you would need a large spill the size of a quart or more for over an hour or more. What you have experienced with the burning eyes and headache would be the same thing you would get if you hit a skunk on the road. The smell is very irritating to the senses but does little actual damage to the body.

Customer:

cause there were some times when i was driving with all my windows closed for 10 mins .. i dont know if this is a concern?

Chris C. :

No. You have only had this spill happen once correct?

Customer:

yeah only once.

Chris C. :

Workers at gas refineries work around higher concentrations than you have had for 20 or more years and have n ill effects.

Chris C. :

So you are safe that there is no damage.

Chris C. :

Are you there?

Customer:

yeah..

Chris C. :

ok

Customer:

sorry to ask this but high big is a quart.. im just curious

Customer:

how

Chris C. :

A quart is 1000ml (roughly) or 1/4 of a gallon or 1/2 of a 2 liter bottle. You did not spill this much gas unless it was on purpose so I'm sure you did not.

Customer:

probably not

Chris C. :

Are you still having a headache or red eyes?

Chris C. :

You should have had any problems resolved and should not experience any more issues from the spill.

Customer:

no red eyes.. headache,, i dont know. i think i am just overreacting to this and making myself think i have headache.

Chris C. :

Yes at this point the exposure would not be causing any problems. This feeling is likely related to the anxiety you have over the spill and the potential damage you are perceiving may have occurred.

Customer:

ok thanks

Chris C. :

You are very welcome! Thanks for your question! Please don't forget to rate so I get credit for my time today before you leave.

Chris C., Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience: Nurse with with 10+ yrs. in wellness care, geriatrics, hospice and acute care.
Chris C. and 7 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
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