1. Has the oder of newly mown hay and becomes a gas at 47 degrees F. It damages primarily the lungs. It must be inhaled to cause this damage.
2. At high concentrations, the chlorine
part of the molecule irritates the eyes, nose, and upper airways. It may cause fatal layngospasm.
3. The real damage is done by the carbon, double bond oxygen group (carbonyl group) of the phosgene molecule. Causes severe, although not immediately apparent lung damage.
4. Phosgene is a common industrial chemical. Formally used as a chemical warfare
agent. After phosgene is inhaled, the carbonyl group combines with the components of the membrane dividing the alveolus from the capillary. Fluid leaks from the blood into the alveolar septum, and then to the alveoli
5. Dyspnea at exertion worsens to dyspnea at rest. This is accompanied by a productive cough, producing clear, frothy sputum. The fluid loss after severe exposure can be as much as 1 - 2 liters per hour.
There are two major components to the physical effects of phosgene exposure leading to hypotension
a. Hypoxia caused by the fluid filled alveo.
b. Fluid loss.