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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Gasoline Inhalation Concern


 gregory651 - Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:14 am

Doctor,

I just found out that over the past 6 months that my automobile has been leaking small, but continuous amounts of gasoline near the engine and therefore, the fumes have been entering the car via the vent. As of 6 months ago, I was feeling continuously dizzy and lathargic, almost sluggish and spaced out. Though the symptoms have been occuring less lately, should there be any concern of brain damage and/or cancer risks?

Also, I have a wife and a young infant who ride in the car, but not as frequently. What would the concerns be for them, especially for the baby?

I look forward to your advice as to what I should do regarding any medical attention.

Thank You.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:03 pm

User avatar Hello -

Inhaling substantial gasoline fumes in a small, closed area can cause a lot of potentially serious problems, but since the leak in this instance is relatively small (or the car wouldn't have run), and originated outside the passenger compartment, the fumes, while very aromatic, are unlikely to have been sufficient to cause any lasting damage. It may well explain the symptoms you describe, but they also could be attributable to something else. Gasoline fumes are heavier than air, so the odor is almost always more prominent than the volatile substance of the fumes. While gasoline fumes do have the potential to act as carcinogens, again, the exosure has to be highly concentrated for extended periods (not like what you've experienced), and brain damage occurs almost exclusively from instances where the fumes have displaced most all the air in a given vicinity (example: the gas station attendant who used to deliberately drop his head down into a drum containing gasoline, in order to inhale the fumes and subsequently died of asphyxiation). The leak presented a far greater potential fire hazard than anything else.

I hope this is helpful to you. Best of luck. I assume the problem has been repaired by now?
 gregory651 - Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:50 am

Thank you so much for your response.

The mechanical problem took three times to fix, but it appears that it is fixed now. My biggest concern was that it was coming in through the vents directly to where I breathe and into the sometimes enclosed cab of the car. However, I definitely understand your point and since the problem has been fixed, my concern has certainly waned.

My only new concern would be for my infant son who in hindsight, was probably also exposed on a number of occasions. However, he is not showing any negative symptoms.

Thank you again for your response.

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