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A 21-year-old male asked:

I left the wardrobe door open while i slept in my bedroom...can the smell of naphtalene harm me or my brain?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Harold Mandel
General Practice 40 years experience
Possible poisoning!: When you smell mothballs, you are inhaling naphthalene. People have developed headaches, nausea, dizziness, &/or vomiting after they're exposed to naphthalene vapors. Hemolytic anemia & cancer may occur from naphthalene poisoning. If you suspect poisoning call the National Poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or 911 in an emergency. Go online to https://www.aapcc.org/ for more guidance.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Harold Mandel
General Practice 42 years experience
Provided original answer
In the absence of an emergency I suggest a routine general medical exam as soon as possible to be on the safe side. I wish you well with your health!
Nov 3, 2019
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 35 years experience
No, but it's the...: It's the amount of naphthalene that gets into a person's body that can be toxic. The smell isn't necessarily the problem. Some people have very sensitive noses and can smell the mothballs' naphthalene the moment they set foot into a house they are visiting. It is hard to figure out how much naphthalene in the air is too much, if just going by smell. Better to use other insect repellents.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Nov 3, 2019


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