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What are the effects of inhaling burning plastic fumes?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 6175 Questions
Question
About a year ago, I was still smoking weed and came home one night with nothing to smoke out of. I remember trying to use the plastic tip of a pen as the bowl and I attempted to have a hit, I don't remember really getting high but I do remember instantly feeling stupid and regretting it as I saw the tip of the plastic pen melt. I remember seeing black smoke and weird black ash almost rise upward, I don't think I inhaled any of that. The whole ordeal only last maybe 5 seconds if that, I have been worried ever since. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to die but how do I know if I have caused any serious respiratory damage? Is there a way to go to the doctor's and check or is that just silly? I can breathe alright but now in this humidity my breathing is getting more heavier and I'm just wondering if I actually did something or should I just try to live my life without worrying because what's done is done? I may have inhaled some burning plastic fumes but I will never really know, I can only assume I did.
Posted Sun, 17 Aug 2014 in Lung and Chest disorders
 
 
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
No need to get worried!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I understand how disturbing such thoughts can be. We have all inhaled fumes of plastic at some point in our lives be it from a melting plastic/rubber at work, home, waste disposal sites, etc. What poses a problem is how much and how often you get that. This happened just once, the size of this plastic and the absence of symptoms are very suggestive that nothing bad could have resulted and there is nothing to get too concerned about right now.

Drugs are not good for health. Stay away from drugs as much as possible. This would prove very helpful to you and your health, now and in future.

There is no point to go for any detailed medical evaluation about this. There is no justification to continue being worried about this. There is also no information to suggest that you caused any harm during this act. However, make sure you never do such again in future.

I hope this helps. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using these services and feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be.
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