Has chemical exposure put your health at risk?
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Substances are produced with harmful chemicals in many everyday products such as disinfectants or cleaners. Any chemical leak is bad. Chemical leaks can contaminate surrounding areas regardless of what chemical it is. Business pollution is so common that it is simple to think there is little to be done about it. The truth is you can fight for yourself and the rights of your community when you can prove you are being impacted by chemical exposure. Sign up now for more info...
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What threats do chemical exposure specifically present?
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Chemical leaks can destroy entire ecosystems from the release of toxins
People who are exposed may have a number of adverse health reactions to any questionable substances
Businesses will do everything in their power not to take responsibility or be held liable for their actions
What can be done about chemical leaks?
Feedback can be documented, compiled, and referenced as evidence for lawyers to fight any company guilty from a chemical leak:
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Chemical reactions example: If a bleaching agent were to leak
Due to chemical plants not publishing the specific methods they use, we can look at an example such as a chemical made with Chlorine Gas (a bleaching agent), also known as Trichloroisocyanuric acid. With that in mind, here is a rundown of such chemicals, related material to watch out for, the hazards that they pose, and how to best deal with these hazards if you are potentially exposed.
Chemical plants produce dangerous substances like Trichloroisocyanuric acid from Chlorine Gas, Cyanuric Acid, and Sodium Hydroxide.
Such reactions can have several byproducts, and preceding steps, each with their own chemicals, dangers, and hazards.
If you believe you have been exposed to any chemical leaks in your environment, get medical attention as soon as possible. Medical professionals are best equipped to treat chemical exposure.
Health Hazards: Moderate
Cyanuric acid can cause skin corrosion and eye damage if exposed. While this generally requires significant exposure to the chemical, it is important to be cautious in the event of any exposure. If skin is exposed to Cyanuric acid, be sure to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. If ingested, wash your mouth out with water. Do not induce vomiting.
Other Safety Concerns: Cyanuric acid is generally regarded as ‘essentially nontoxic’. While extremely high doses of the chemical can provide lethal, the amount required would be enormous. If mixed with melamine, a benign chemical sometimes used as a precursor to cyanuric acid, it can cause significant kidney damage
State of Matter: Solid
Because Cyanuric acid is a solid at standard temperature and pressure, it is less likely that anyone will be significantly exposed. However, updrafts and significant winds could potentially spread the solid granules outside of the plant area.
Health Hazard: High
Sodium Hydroxide is a dangerous chemical. Contact with it can cause significant severe chemical burns on exposure. Any point of contact carries this significant risk, and can provoke massive cell death.
Inhalation of sodium hydroxide fumes can burn the interior of the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties. Exposure to the eyes can result in blindness. Exposure to internal systems can cause organ perforation and permanent intestinal damage. If the eyes or skin are exposed to Sodium Hydroxide, wash them out immediately with clean water for at least 15 minutes. If ingested, wash your mouth out with clean water, but do not induce vomiting.
State of Matter: Solid/Aqueous
While Sodium Hydroxide is technically a solid at standard temperature and pressure, it is usually stored and worked with in an aqueous solution, meaning dissolved in water. For all intents and purposes it should be treated as a liquid. Because of this, it has a low to moderate chance of spreading to outlying regions.
First Responders in direct contact with the plant may be at risk of Sodium Hydroxide droplets, but it is unlikely that Sodium Hydroxide droplets would be able to remain in the air long enough to cause significant damage outside of the immediate area.
Health Hazards: Severe
Chlorine gas is incredibly toxic. It’s effects are immediate and the results severe and can very well be fatal. If you suspect you are being exposed to Chlorine gas, it is incredibly important to leave the area as soon as possible and avoid further exposure. On eye or skin contact, immediately flush the affected area with clean water. Continue to do this for at least 15 minutes. If chlorine gas has been inhaled, remove yourself to fresh air as soon as possible. If someone is struggling to breath, or has stopped breathing, after exposure to chlorine gas, it is important that rescuers avoid breathing in the exhaled air of the affected individual, or else they risk exposure as well.
Other Safety Concerns:
Chlorine gas causes significant damage to the respiratory system. At low concentrations, it can cause eye, throat, and lung discomfort and burning. At moderate to high concentrations, it can cause further burning, choking, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It is at this point that one becomes at risk for developing pulmonary edema- that is, buildup of fluids in the lungs, causing even more difficulty breathing. At high concentrations breathing at all may be incredibly difficult. It can act as an asphyxiate at this level, preventing getting any air. At extremely high concentrations, even very brief exposure could prove fatal.
State of Matter: Gas
Because Chlorine Gas is a gas, it has a high risk of spreading if it breaches containment. Especially in high wind conditions, clouds of chlorine gas can spread quickly away from any plant it is used in, potentially reaching inhabited areas. Due to the nature of chlorine gas, the masks typically worn for protection against Coronavirus will not have any protective effect. Only self-contained breathing systems protect your lungs from Chlorine Gas.
Health Hazard: Moderate
This substance can be damaging to the respiratory tract if inhaled. If exposed, try to find fresh air. Ingestion can lead to indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Do not induce vomiting, and if vomiting does occur wash your mouth with clean water as possible. If there is skin exposed, wash the exposed area with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Exposure to the eye can cause conjunctivitis, long term eye damage, and burns to the eyelids. Wash with clean water for 15 minutes if the eyes are exposed.
State of Matter: Solid
Because Tricholoroisocyanuric Acid is a solid at standard temperature and pressure, it is less likely that anyone will be significantly exposed. However, updrafts and significant winds could potentially spread the solid granules outside of the plant area.
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