Chemical burns, also known as “caustic burns,” occur when the skin comes in contact with an irritant of some form, either an acid or a base. If chemicals are swallowed, the internal body can suffer chemical burns. Chemical burns are extremely serious, often very painful and can be hard to treat. Many chemical burns occur because of a defective product like a cell phone or some other everyday product.
There are several toxic chemicals that will cause burns when not used properly including:
- Car battery acid
- Sulfuric acid
- Hydrochloric acid
- Teeth whitening products
- Pool chlorination products
- Toilet bowl cleaners
- Drain cleaners
- Denture cleaners
- Cement mix
Chemical burns may cause these and other symptoms:
- Redness of the skin
- Irritation of the skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood pressure changes
- Cardiac issues
- Shortness of breath
If you see someone has been chemically burned, or if you have been burned, you should protect your hands and body and take these steps:
- Rinse the burn under slow running water for 10-20 minutes (DO NOT do this if the burn is caused by dry lime, phenols or elemental metals as these will make the burn even worse)
- For small burn areas, loosely wrap the burn in sterile gauze or a soft, clean cloth
- Remove jewelry unless it’s in the burn area
- Check the bottle of whatever caused the burn for exposure instructions
- Don’t apply any ointment
- Don’t try neutralizing the burn
- When dry lime is the cause of the burn, it should be brushed off before rinsing the burn area. After elemental metals are carefully cleaned off the body, you can cover the burn area with mineral oil if you have it or some other non-water solution. Phenol should be wiped with sponges soaked in 50% polyethylene glycol
- Get professional medical help as soon as possible
Unfortunately, chemical burns from defective products are all too common. There have been several cases in the news recently of people suffering chemical burns due to defective products.
In 2017, a class action lawsuit was filed against Combe, Inc., the company that makes the popular Just for Men hair and beard products. The suit was filed in California and said that Combe, Inc. targeted black men for its Jet Black hair dye, but the company did not warn black men that they have a higher risk of harmful reactions to said dye. A dangerous compound in the hair dye is used in gas and the manufacture of rubber tires and can cause dermatitis, asthma, convulsions, and can even put users in a coma.
Also, in August of last year, MixBin Electronics came under fire when it sold cases for iPhones that had glitter in a suspended liquid, and the glitter caused skin irritations and burns with one victim suffering permanent scarring from the burn. Many others suffered extremity and facial swelling.
If you or a loved one has sustained a chemical burn after using a product that was defective in some way, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact an attorney Eric R. Bernstein to schedule a free consultation.