Siphoning gasoline with the mouth: a risk of pneumopathy

Siphoning gasoline with the mouth a risk of pneumopathy

During the fuel shortage, many cases of poisoning by siphoning were reported by the Poison Control Centers. Serious respiratory problems that could lead to hospitalization. Siphoning from the tank to the mouth is absolutely not recommended.

During the period of fuel shortage (which concerned both petrol and diesel) in October 2022the number ofsiphon poisoning been multiplied by 5according a statement of 28 October 2022 from ANSES and the Poison Control Centres. These poisonings mainly took place between October 9 and 18, when almost a third of service stations in France ran out of fuel tanker. Siphoning is a practice strongly discouraged. List of risks and recommendations to avoid accidents.

What is the principle of siphoning?

The practice of siphoning consists of empty the tank of a vehicle (car, van, agricultural machine or gardening equipment such as a mower) by creating suction of fuel through the mouth using a hose. The contents of the tank can thus be transferred to another container as a jerrycanand be used to fill another vehicle for example.

What are the dangers of siphoning?

Danger: when you suck in the pipe, there is a risk of ingesting fuel. And even if you ingest a small amount of fuel (petrol or diesel), it can cause an intoxication. In fact, petroleum fuels have the characteristics of being very fluid, irritating and volatilewhich favors wrong ways. And that “may have serious consequences on the bronchi“and train”the appearance of fever or prolonged cough a few hours after ingestion, which are the first signs of a possible aspiration pneumonia“, recalls ANSES. Some patients, having done a siphoning, presented respiratory disorders requiring a consultation in the emergency room, or even a hospitalization.

What are the symptoms of fuel poisoning?

Intoxicated people usually present:

  • Respiratory disorders
  • gastric reflux
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomitings
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

What to do in case of fuel ingestion?

ANSES and the poison control centers strongly advise against the practice of siphoning of fuel with the mouth. However, if this happens, in the event of fuel ingestion:

→ Do not make yourself vomit to avoid the passage of fuel into the bronchi and then the lungs

→ Do not drink to avoid the risk of vomiting

→ Rinse mouth with water

Do not engage in risky activities, such as car driving or the use of machine tools, as alertness may be impaired

Monitor respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath) which may be delayed

In case of skin contact, wash hands with soap and rinse the skin.

In case of a life-threatening emergency (respiratory distress, loss of consciousness…) : to call 15 or 112 or 114 for deaf and hard of hearing people. Except vital emergency, for any medical opinion after ingestion of fuels: call a poison control center Or see a doctor.

Source : Fuel siphoning: beware of the risk of intoxication, ANSES press release, October 28, 2022