Toxic industrial chemicals and chemical weapons: exposure, identification, and management by syndrome

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2015 Feb;33(1):13-36. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Nov 15.


Toxidromes aid emergency care providers in the context of the patient presenting with suspected poisoning, unexplained altered mental status, unknown hazardous materials or chemical weapons exposure, or the unknown overdose. The ability to capture an adequate chemical exposure history and to recognize toxidromes may reduce dependence on laboratory tests, speed time to delivery of specific antidote therapy, and improve selection of supportive care practices tailored to the etiologic agent. This article highlights elements of the exposure history and presents selected toxidromes that may be caused by toxic industrial chemicals and chemical weapons. Specific antidotes for toxidromes and points regarding their use, and special supportive measures, are presented.

Keywords: Antidotes; Exposure history; Toxic industrial chemicals; Toxidrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Warfare Agents / poisoning*
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration
  • Disease Management
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Hazardous Substances / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Poisoning / diagnosis


  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Hazardous Substances