Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Gas Bad For You?

Also Known As: gasoline, petrol



Short answer

Whether liquid or a gas, gasoline is a very harmful substance. It can cause extensive damage to the body when swallowed and when large amounts of vapor are inhaled, with serious cases resulting in death.



Long answer

Gasoline (known as petrol outside of North America) is a colorless-amber volatile liquid that is highly flammable both in its liquid state and its gaseous state. It consists of many various hydrocarbons, with some of them, such as benzene, toluene, and n-hexane, being known carcinogens. Gasoline in itself is considered possibly carcinogenic, with animal studies showing that it may increase the risk of blood cancer and kidney cancer. 

In its liquid state, gasoline may come into contact with the eyes or skin. Due to gasoline's quick evaporation rate, a drop on the skin or in the eye is not cause for immediate alarm. However, a lot of gasoline in the eye can cause significant damage. Dermatitis can result from long-term skin contact with gasoline. Something to keep in mind is that contact with liquid gasoline also means exposure to gasoline vapors. 

While liquid gasoline can cause lung damage and death if swallowed, it is fairly difficult to accidentally swallow gasoline (even if a bottle were mislabeled, gasoline has a very distinct odor). The real danger comes from the vapor. Gasoline vapor is a nose and throat irritant and can damage the nervous system. Symptoms of vapor inhalation include drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. If a lot of the vapor is inhaled, unconsciousness can result. 

Yet another danger of gasoline - whether in its liquid state or gaseous form - is the fact that gasoline is highly flammable and can be explosive. Gasoline is not safe by any means, but if proper safety precautions are followed, it should not be a cause for concern.

This article is sponsored by CarComp.com

Possible short-term side effects

  • skin irritation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • unconsciousness
  • confusion
  • eye damage
  • lung damage
  • death if large amounts swallowed

Possible long-term side effects

  • cancer
  • dermatitis
  • death from lung damage

Ingredients to be aware of

  • benzene
  • toluene
  • n-hexane
  • and many other hydrocarbons

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 05-24-2016
Last updated: 12-28-2018

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 05-24-2016
Last updated: 12-28-2018

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