Gasoline:  Used in fuel combustion engines such as automobiles, lawn mowers, and snowmobiles.  Also used as a solvent, for example used to dilute paints.


What is in it:  Contains refined petroleum.


Is it toxic?  May cause coughing, difficulty breathing and pneumonia if aspirated (or "goes down the wrong way") into the lungs.


Health Effects:

Eyes:  Possible irritation.

Skin:  Possible irritation, redness and dryness. Prolonged contact may cause more severe irritation or burns.

Ingestion:  Irritation to mouth and throat, possible upset stomach and diarrhea.  If aspirated (or "goes down the wrong way") into the lungs may cause coughing, choking and difficulty breathing.


What to do:

Eyes:  Rinse eyes with lukewarm water with one of the following methods:

  • Pour a gentle stream of water from a jug or clean teapot over the eye from the inside corner by the nose, across the eye, flowing out towards the ear.
  • Submerge eye in a container (bowl, sink) of lukewarm water.  Have patient open and close eye.
  • Eye may be irrigated in the shower if this can be accomplished without delay.
  • Young children may be wrapped like a mummy in a towel with arms at side and held over sink or tub or laid on counter during flushing.
Skin:  Wash skin with soap and water and rinse thoroughly.

Ingestion: Rinse out mouth and drink a few sips of water or milk.


Do not induce vomiting as this increases the risk of getting it into the lungs. Rinse out mouth and drink a few sips of water or milk. Contact the Poison Control Centre.

How can I prevent exposure?  Keep out of reach of children.  Always store gasoline in its original container.  Do not put gasoline into beverage containers such as water bottles.  Do not use mouth to siphon gasoline.


Clean up instructions:  Wear gloves when cleaning contaminated surfaces.  Use mild detergent such as dish soap.


Need more information:  Call the Poison Control Centre.


© 2010 BC Drug and Poison Information Centre