How do you get the smell of mothballs out of something plastic?
Exposure to large amounts of naphthalene may damage or destroy red blood cells. Humans, particularly children, have developed this condition, known as hemolytic anemia, after ingesting mothballs or deodorant blocks containing naphthalene. Symptoms include fatigue, lack of appetite, restlessness, and pale skin. Exposure to large amounts of naphthalene may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the urine, and jaundice (yellow coloration of the skin).
When the U.S. National Toxicology Program exposed male and female rats and mice to naphthalene vapors on weekdays for two years, male and female rats exhibited: evidence of carcinogenic activity, based on increased incidences of adenoma and neuroblastoma of the nose, female mice exhibited some evidence of carcinogenic activity, based on increased incidences of alveolar and bronchiolar adenomas of the lung, and male mice exhibited no evidence of carcinogenic activity.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies naphthalene as possibly carcinogenic to humans [Group 2B]. The IARC also points out that acute exposure causes cataracts in humans, rats, rabbits, and mice, and that hemolytic anemia, described above, can occur in children and infants after oral or inhalation exposure or after maternal exposure during pregnancy.
Over 400 million people have an inherited condition called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Exposure to naphthalene is more harmful for these people and may cause hemolytic anemia at lower doses.