Synonyms: Kerosine; ‘Paraffin’; Queroseno.
Cyrillic synonym: Керосин.

💊 Chemical information

CAS — 8008-20-6.


Kerosene is a mixture of hydrocarbons, chiefly members of the alkane series, distilled from petroleum. It is a clear, colourless liquid with a characteristic odour. Sp. gr. about 0.8 g. B.p. 180° to 300°. An odourless grade is available. Store in airtight containers.

💊 Adverse Effects

The chief danger from ingestion of kerosene is pneumonitis and attendant pulmonary complications resulting from aspiration. Spontaneous or induced vomiting increases the risk of aspiration. Ingestion of kerosene results in a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, gastrointestinal disturbances, and possibly cough, dyspnoea, and transient cyanosis. There may be excitation followed by CNS depression, with weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, incoordination, and restlessness progressing to convulsions, coma, and respiratory depression in severe cases. Cardiac arrhythmias have been reported. The course of poisoning from inhalation is similar to that following ingestion although CNS and cardiac effects are more likely. Kerosene is irritant.


A case of volatile substance abuse involving inhalation and ingestion of kerosene has been reported.1
1. Das PS, et al. Kerosene abuse by inhalation and ingestion. Am J Psychiatry 1992; 149: 710.

💊 Treatment of Adverse Effects

Treatment of kerosene poisoning is supportive and symptomatic. Every precaution should be taken to avoid aspiration of kerosene into the lungs. The UK National Poisons Information Service considers that gastric lavage should not be used. If large amounts have been taken or there is concern about another toxin, gastric aspiration may be considered if it can be carried out within 1 hour of ingestion and the airway can be protected. Adrenaline and other sympathomimetics should also be avoided because of the risk of precipitating cardiac arrhythmias.

💊 Uses

Kerosene is used as a degreaser and cleaner and as an illuminating and fuel oil in kerosene (‘paraffin’) lamps and stoves. The odourless grade has been used as a solvent in the preparation of some insecticide sprays.
Published November 14, 2018.