Exposure to a toxic chemical or substance can cause harm to your body. The exposure may be intentional or accidental, and you may not have any way of knowing what chemical or substance you have been exposed to.

Touching, breathing, or ingesting toxic materials all have the potential to cause damage. Depending on how the exposure took place, you may experience symptoms such as stomach aches or diarrhea, blurred vision or watery eyes, unexplained sweating or headache, as well as a burning sensation of the skin, throat, chest, nose, or eyes. Quick action after the exposure takes place can help to mitigate the damage, even if you are not sure which substance you were exposed to.


If the substance gets on your skin, you should flush it away using large amounts of water. Decontamination showers can be very useful for that if they happen to be available. However, before flushing the skin, you should remove your clothing first, especially if the substance splashed onto or soaked into it as well. The simple act of removing clothing can reduce the contamination by 80% to 90%.


If a toxic substance has gotten into the eyes as either a gas or a liquid, you should flush them out with water. Facilities in which there is a greater risk of chemical exposure to the face often have eyewash stations for this specific purpose.


Sometimes exposure may occur due to a vaporized chemical floating in the air that can then be inhaled. The most important thing to do if you believe you have inhaled a toxic chemical is to move to fresh air immediately.

Not all toxic chemicals have strong odors, bad tastes, or produce a visible vapor cloud. Therefore, it is sometimes possible to be exposed and not know it, at least not right away. Anyone who experiences symptoms or has any other reason to suspect toxic exposure should receive medical attention as soon as possible.