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Cathartics may be broken down into several different categories:
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You will generally find the term cathartic or catharsis on a Safety Data Sheet in reference to:
In Section 4 (first-aid measures) as a first aid measure to treat ingestion of the substance. Cathartics can decrease the absorption of substances in the gastrointestinal tract by accelerating the expulsion of the poison from the body. This may be a preferred method when the material involved is a caustic - for example, instead of inducing vomiting which would cause additional damage to the esophagus and throat.
The decision to utilize a cathartic in a poisoning situation should be made by a qualified medical professional only. There are other ways of reducing the absorption of toxic materials in the body; see the additional terms at the bottom of this page and Further Reading below.
In Section 11 (toxicological information) as a symptom of exposure, usually through ingestion of the material.
See also: activated charcoal, antidote, emesis, gastric, poison.
Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.
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