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inhalation of car battery acid fumes while pregnant

I am 20 weeks pregnant and also have a 8 month old baby and for the last 3 days have had a horrible smell of rotten eggs ( sulfer ) while driving.  We took the car in to get looked at and it appeared that the battery was leaking.  I was wondering if there could be any harm to the unborn baby, and also my son.  Last night after being in the car he vommited while driving and when we got home could this be related and should i be concerned.
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Dear emers320,

Did you have the battery replaced or is the battery no longer leaking?

Inhaling fumes from a battery can be extremely dangerous and harmful to the lungs and respiratory tract.

When batteries get wet or damp, sulfuric acid may be present in the air as small droplets or attached to other small airborne particulates (for example, dust). Sulfuric acid is extremely irritating to skin, mucous membranes (eyes, inside of the nose, throat), and to the upper airway (trachea) and to the lungs. If you inhaled either droplets or particulates with droplets attached, you could experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, sore throat, and worsening of the typical symptoms you have with your asthma (wheezing).

Possible symptoms that may result from exposure to sulfuric acid:

Inhalation of sulfuric acid droplets can cause a chemical pneumonitis (inflammation in the lungs). If you have chemical pneumonitis, your lungs may not be able to clear other particles that you may inhale and you may be at higher risk for developing pneumonia. In addition, the sulfuric acid is irritating to the gastrointestinal tract and could cause nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Lastly, where can you get information on this problem?

You can perform a google search and use “battery acid fumes” and “MSDS” as search terms. MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheet.

Here is a link as well:

Based on what you have written, if your or your infant are having symptoms related to difficulty breathing, I would recommend that you see your personal physician regarding this potential exposure.

Early treatment and management of symptoms may be important in minimizing any potential long-term consequences of any exposure.

If you and your infant are not having symptoms, then it is unlikely that there will be any long term consequences.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please reply with any additional questions that you may have.

~ Dr. Parks

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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