What makes for a dangerous chemical? Chemicals help us with everything from heavy industrial manufacturing to personal care, cleaning, and even used as ingredients in food. Sometimes we need to know which chemicals present a danger if not handled properly.
5 Most Common & Dangerous Chemical Hazards
Chemicals are as deadly as they are useful in our daily lives. Discover the most common and dangerous chemical hazards here.
1. Sulfuric Acid
Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive and extremely dangerous. It is colorless and oily and has the distinct smell of rotten eggs. It is used in manufacturing battery acids, explosives, and fertilizers. Long term hazards can include permanent eye, throat and respiratory damage, and if it comes into contact with skin, it can cause severe burns and scarring.
2. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide, known as the “silent killer“, is a colorless, odorless, gas. Because of these properties, it is nearly impossible to detect a leak without carbon monoxide detectors. High levels of carbon monoxide exposure can be deadly in minutes, whereas most exposures result in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, chest pain, and dizziness.
Carbon monoxide detectors are critical to have in your home or workplace and should be installed and checked regularly.
Ammonia is colorless but has a highly identifiable odor. Ammonia is commonly found in household and commercial cleaning agents and once exposed to oxygen, can become unsafe. Inhaling a high concentration of ammonia can lead to death, paralysis, and permanent damage to the nervous system.
Symptoms of ammonia poisoning can include dizziness, shortness of breath, irritation and burning of the eyes, nose, and throat.
Most commonly known for water treatment, chlorine has a multitude of other uses. It is heavily used in electronics manufacturing and paper mill industries. The properties of chlorine are a heavy, pungent smell and can be hazardous if used in insufficiently ventilated areas.
If you are exposed to high levels of chlorine, you can develop symptoms such as vomiting, chest pain, coughing, inability, or difficulty breathing. Death or permanent lung damage can result from acute chlorine exposure and poisoning.
5. Ammonium Chloride
Ammonium chloride uses range from making batteries to cough medicine. Inhaling the fumes can be precarious, causing breathing trauma and kidney issues. Symptoms of overexposure include coughing, headaches, and vomiting.
Ensure there is plenty of ventilation and using protective gear, gloves and eyewear are helpful to prevent injury. If exposed to the skin, wash the skin with soap and water and flush eyes with water for 20 minutes in case of eye exposure.
Take Precautions and Stay Safe
You can find a safety data sheet for virtually any dangerous chemical online, which will advise you on how to handle and store them safely and what to do in case of an accident. Please read up on chemicals and what safety measures you should take before using them. You never want to unnecessarily risk your life. For more information, please check out our blog!