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I accidentally breathed in fumes from a plastic fire, should I be concerned?

I should mention this event happened 6 months ago and I worry about lasting effects
My mother's family own a farm and my uncle decided to burn a large amount of plastic jam jars someone had dumped on his land, when I visited they had been burning for several days and were just smouldering with a plume of white smoke still going up. Whilst visiting I had to walk directly beside the pile (2-5 feet) and the smell of hot plastic was strong, when walking down away from it the wind changed direction and blew the smoke into my face...I didnt feel any burning throat or nose and only had light irritation in my eyes and throat. Further down on a nearby field i would occasionally smell the plastic in the air for 10-20 seconds at a time on my 20 min walk. When I couldn't smell hot plastic I could breathe normally tho, any irritation cleared up in a few hours. I'm terrified that i may have inhaled PVC fumes or harmful carcinogens and would like advice (don't know what type of plastic it was). I know I had very little symptoms at the time but still worry.
I should mention that I am a cancer patient and have been since 2016. I'm finish my treatment on Boxing day this year. I get monthly blood tests to check liver/neutrophil/red blood cell counts.
Over the summer I've been increasingly consumed with intense worry over random health issues or things which have left me drained. I apologise in advance if this is one of those.

2 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Oh, I'm so glad you are almost done with your treatment for the cancer!  Boxing day is when? December right after Christmas?  

Listen, I am sure your health anxiety is truly high and after going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment, that is understandable. It obviously is not good to breath in toxic smoke or smoke with particles in it that could be hazardous to your lungs but generally, when this is an issue, it's prolonged exposure.  A one time weekend of being near is unlikely to have repercussions for you. Talk to your doctor about it though. And if you are having more and more anxiety, this truly is something that can be helped for many people. I'd also talk to your doctor too. For a lot of people, it is manageable. But if you find yourself overcome with fear and anxiety often, it is important to speak to a doctor about it.  
5 Comments
Thanks for your response, logically I know I shouldn't worry but I sometimes struggle with my anxiety. I'll definitely raise my anxiety issue next time I see him. I've been focused on treatment for a while and I think I'm having difficulty unwinding now that I'm starting to get back to normality. Thanks again for your concern :).
Anxiety opposes logic sometimes, I get it.  I have had health anxiety.  It is hard to shake sometimes. What type of cancer did you have?  I'm glad you are on the tail end of your treatment!!
I had T cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, quite pleased I'm past most of the intensive chemo and well on the road to recovery :)
That's fantastic.  Congratulations.   !  What lead to your cancer diagnosis?  did you have symptoms or did they just find it by chance?  
I had pretty bad time with it. I noticed just after I left High School that I was slightly breathless and had a cough that wouldn't improve. After a few weeks I found that I couldn't breathe when lying down and could feel my neck swell when I did. We went to the doctor and it was advised that we monitor it, i then began to get bruises on my ribs from coughing so much. another week or so passed and we went to a local GP centre...here they couldn't explain my symptoms nor the fact i had now had swelling in my chest and Groin. I later got scans/blood tests at the local hospital they immediately sent me to, after more testing I was sent to another hospital where they explained what was wrong with me. Basically I had a large mass in my chest that had constricted my wind pipe, meaning I had trouble swallowing and breathing, they performed surgery to take a biopsy of it and drain fluid from my right lung (collapsed) and round my heart. I was then transferred to a cancer hospital where I promptly got intensive steroids and chemotherapy that cleared up most of the cancer in a month or so. Then I had to deal with all the stuff that intensive chemotherapy involves for the next 7-8 months or so. I was incredibly lucky in the fact that whilst the cancer was aggressive the treatment was incredibly effective. I have only praise for my doctors and nurses and am now happy to talk to them about anything.
Avatar universal
You're posting on an anxiety forum, not a cancer forum, so my first question would be, is anxiety a chronic problem for you, or are you anxious  because you've earned it (cancer makes everyone anxious).  You say you sometimes struggle with anxiety, which means it's not really a regular problem, so that probably answers the question, but I just thought I'd ask.  As to the burning plastic, worrying won't help.  Was it toxic?  You bet.  Mom's right, usually it takes more than just a brief exposure to cause something like cancer, but it well could have caused something more immediate.  But it didn't, so you don't need to worry about it.  But I would suggest that, if you get to a point where your treatment is over and you're no longer taking medication and not getting treatments, that you can work on detoxing your system.  That would help anything from the plastic fire that might have stored in your liver and also the toxic treatments used to kill cancer cells.  What this entails is mostly dietary, which means eating better than you ever ate in your life by loading up on antioxidant rich foods that will help your body recover.  It will strengthen your immune system.  Some things that are really useful are algae such as spirulina and wheat grass, which is very useful at detoxing your liver, which is where the body stores fat soluble toxins.  Lots of green leafy veggies and veggies that have a lot of color -- the color is made by powerful antioxidants.  Really high antioxidant foods abound, but some other great ones are rosemary, blueberries, red grapes with seeds, just as an example.  This will help you recover from both incidents as much as one can do that.  And from now on, stay away from things like burning plastic -- everyone has cancer cells, but they only get us when they're able to mutate and grow exponentially.  If you can keep them from doing that, you don't get most forms of cancer.  Our world is full of carcinogens, they're in the air, the water, our food, etc.  So eat organic if you can, focus on those antioxidant rich foods, and as for the fire and the cancer, forget about them and move on.  No sense worrying.  It won't help any.  Peace.
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