Last updated: Friday, 24, December, 2010
Key InformationAppropriate Tests


Identify and obtain sample of likely poison(s), if possible. Contact local Poisons Information Centre.

Urine or blood examination for poison or metabolite may be indicated; assessment of appropriate organ function/organ biopsy may also be required. Consult pathologist to discuss specific poison(s) involved.

See also Overdose, drug and Paracetemol overdose


Benzene, methanol, glycol, paint thinner

Inorganic chemicals

Acids, alkalis, metal salts 

See Heavy metal exposure/toxicity, Lead poisoning, Iron toxicity, Haemochromatosis and Haemosiderosis+

Organic chemicals

Insecticides, especially

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors, especially
  • Organophosphates

Cholinesterase - red cell and Cholinesterase - plasma.



FBC, blood film, Heinz body preparation, methaemoglobin.

Herbicides, especially

  • Paraquat 

See Paraquat poisoning

Rodenticides, especially

  • Warfarin 

PT; warfarin - blood if documentation required.

Industrial chemicals

  • Plastic monomers
  • Cyanide