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Author Topic: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!  (Read 22573 times)

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Offline ComeAlive

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Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« on: January 07, 2012, 03:50:41 PM »
All of this started on Thursday. My mom watches my two kids (ages 2.5 and 2 months) at our apartment while my husband and I work. Before I left home I put a box with a food processor (gift for xmas) on a burner on the stove. I must have accidentally switched the burner onto high because about thirty minutes after leaving my mom called me to tell me that the box burned right through and part of the base of the food processor had burned, too. My mom said the smell wasn't too bad and she and my kids stayed at home the whole day. My husband got home at 4 and the smell of burnt plastic was horrific. He opened the sliding glass door and had a box fan going. The smell was still horrible when I got home and by 7p I had everything packed for all of us to stay at hotel overnight. I was TERRIFIED the burning plastic was going to harm my kids so we stayed overnight at a hotel down the street. At about 9 that night my 2 month old spit up like crazy. It was like spewing out of her and really scared us. I called the pediatrician's nurse line and explained everything that happened to them. They even got poison control on the line and poison control said it was probably not because of the burnt plastic. I relaxed a little bit until 4 in the morning when my 2 year old woke up and threw up everywhere. He threw up again about an hour after that and then seemed okay. I still called the ped nurse line back and once again talked to poison control. They said it was most likely a stomach bug.
By the time we got home the smell in the apartment was a lot better but we could definitely still smell burnt plastic. My 2 month old spit up a ton again in the car on the way home so I called the nurse again. I got an appointment for both of the kids that afternoon. Went to the doctor and the doctor said the same thing -probably a stomach bug. When we got home both kids got sick again. After that they didn't have good appetites but didn't get sick again until just this afternoon, 24 hours later. My two month old is acting a little more tired than usual and my two year old is really crabby and just laying around, which he NEVER does. I can't help but freak out that they're sick from the plastic and not a stomach bug. Rationally, I know it's probably not the case because the stomach virus is rampant right now, plus both of them have had random diarrhea for the past couple of weeks. My two year old also threw up last weekend once and had diarrhea that same day. The two year old was also really gassy Thursday night before getting sick for the first time. He still kind of is now.

Someone reassure me. I'm an absolute WRECK right now and am thinking the absolute worst about them breathing in that stupid burnt plastic smell all day. My cat was in the apartment, too, and she seems fine other than a lot of sneezing, which could be her feline herpes acting up. My mom is also fine and says she didn't even get a headache on Thursday from the smell.

HELP before I have a total panic attack! :'''''(.
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Offline JoriMar

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 03:57:03 PM »
Rationally, if the cat is fine, the kids are fine too. Cats are much smaller and the cat would have been in the house more than the kids even. If anyone of the house hold would get sick, the cat would before anyone else. Burning plastic is an unpleasant smell, but I've never heard of it causing a health issue, especially with such a small exposure time (<24 hours).
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Offline ComeAlive

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 04:10:20 PM »
Thanks for your reply! We actually took the cat with us to the hotel because she's part of the family, too. And she's roughly the same weight as my two month old (9-10 lbs) but she does seem fine except for the sneezing.
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Offline ComeAlive

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 03:59:16 PM »
I'm really losing my mind now. I can't stop worrying about my kids and that burnt plastic. My two year old seems a lot better today but my two month old vomited last night and had diarrhea a little while ago. She's so tiny she may have been affected more. What if it was toxic?! Is it really just a stomach bug? Why isn't she better?! I'm absolutely terrified right now and can't even function properly :''''(. Someone help!
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Offline mantooth

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2012, 04:34:18 PM »
Nah, short term exposure to that wouldn't cause anything deadly. It might make someone sick for a bit, but no permanent effects.
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Offline mikeymike

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2012, 08:06:37 PM »
I know that in the construction industry, the plastics that are toxic when ignited have to stay out of the home. I would assume that similar regulations are in place for anything to be used in a kitchen since many fires start there. As far as I know, these burnt plastics are not cancer causing...they would kill you instantly.
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Offline ComeAlive

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 10:13:00 PM »
So if the plastic was toxic my kids would be more sick, right? I'm trying to relax but it's hard.
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Offline mikeymike

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 10:22:14 PM »
Inhaling toxic fumes would not cause diarrhea. And like another person posted, the cat would have been the first to experience problems due to its small size and time down on the floor.
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Offline ComeAlive

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 03:12:07 PM »
So both of my kids are better today but I still can't stop worrying! I'm worried about carbon monoxide now. I really hate this :(.
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Offline mikeymike

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2012, 07:43:12 PM »
Hang in there! CO would not cause any gastro-intestinal issues either. If you really need to put your mind at rest, they sell the detectors at home improvement stores. Remember too that your cat is a detector in a way as well.
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Online mollyfin

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Re: Smelling/inhaling burnt plastic?!
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2012, 11:39:11 PM »
CO poisoning is known to give you headaches, but it wouldn't cause vomiting that improves without medical intervention.  Sounds like your kids picked up a stomach bug.  My cousins all have herds of kids, and it seems like every other week someone has a stomach virus. 
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