Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 09:35:17 -0600
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Chemical Safety Headlines From Google (9 articles) -
"Chlorine" spills
In-Reply-To: <8C1FF28BDDEB6048B3411BEA66988278A516B1F5C6**At_Symbol_Here**>

This is indeed a common misconception, and chloramine is the "usual suspe ct" when a person suffers eye and respiratory tract irritation following mi xing of ammonia and bleach, especially in the usual enclosed space such a s small bathroom.  This is a moderately frequent occur rence, and poison centers in the US get a number of such calls each year.   In a few cases, the pulmonary irritation is severe enough to res ult in chemical pneumonitis or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) , and a few cases result in fatality.  The latest pu blished statistics from the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System (Bronstein AC et al:  2009 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Dat a System (NPDS):  27th Annual Report.  Clin Toxicol 2010;48 :979-1178):
Total Exposures:  792
Single Substance Exposure:  752
Ages 20 years and older:  567
Unintentional Exposure:  718
Treated in Health Care Facility:  170
No Symptoms:  60
Minor Symptoms:  252
Moderate Symptoms:  101
Major Symptoms:  2
Deaths:  0
showing that most such exposures are to the single substance, chloramine gas, the majority occur as unintentional exposures in adults, that a pe rcentage have symptoms severe enough to prompt evaluation in a health care facility, that Major Symptoms are rather rare, and that there were no r eported deaths in 2009.  For reference, there were a total of 2, 479,355 cases of human poison exposure reported to participating US poiso n centers in 2009, with the majority being rather benign, unintentional /accidental exposures in children.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Medical Toxicologist

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 10:58:41 -0400
From: dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**MAIL.WITTENBERG.ED U
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemical Safety Headlines From Google (9 articl es) - "Chlorine" spills
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU



I have excerpted below two of the a rticles recently sent that describe =93chlorine=94 spills.  I am wri ting to the group just to confirm what I believe to be one of the most comm on errors in the report of hazmat incidents.  If someone understands the chemistry involved better than I, please correct me.


It is commonly reported that mixing ammonia and bleach releases chlorine gas.  I cannot find any reliab le source of chemical information that confirms this reaction (although a w eb search of =93ammonia plus bleach=94 will often produce websites claiming the production of Cl2).  My understanding is that the substance pro duced (first) is a chloramine (NH2Cl) which, in fact, is the source of the odor commonly experienced at swimming pools as the =93chlorine smell=94 .  The dichloro- and trichloro- species are also produced.  & nbsp;TOXNET (HSDB) reports that chloramine is a lacrimator and respirator y irritant, including a few case studies of death from mixing bleach and ammonia in bathrooms.   I could find no =93typical=94 toxicit y information such as LC50 or IDLH values.


Note:  Mixing bleach with HC l will produce Cl2. 


Note:  Mixing bleach with ph osphoric acid is reported to produce chlorine gas.  (http://w  (It is unclear t o me what the reducing agent is in this reaction.)


From an emergency responder point o f view, the actions taken would be the same whether it is chloramine or c hlorine.


Readers of this listserve are aware of the =93loose=94  ( = incorrect!) of chemical language by the m edia and public on many occasions such as the term =93chlorine=94 for every thing from chloride, to Cl2, to bleach, to perchlorate.  Refer ring to chloramine as =93chlorine=94  seems like a chemical error in stead of a linguistic one.




D avid C. Finster
Professor of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Of ficer
Department of Chemistry
Wittenberg University





Tags: us_NJ, public, release, injury, chlori ne


Police are not pursuing criminal charges against the woman who sparked a contamination scare by mixing ammonia and bleach in a Westfield park on Thursday, Westfield police captain David Wayman said. T he chemicals, which, when combined, release a toxic chlorine gas, s ent the woman to the hospital with reported breathing issues, injured a p olice officer and sparked a temporary quarantine of the park. Police have d eclined to release the name of the woman, but describe her as a Westfield resident in her early 20s. < /SPAN>


=93We=92re still interviewing her,=94 Wayman said Tuesday morning. =93At this time it does not appear to be criminal in natur e.=94 He added that police have not determined whether the woman was attemp ting to commit suicide.


At 10:33 a.m. on Thursday, the woman called police from Brightwood Park, which borders Scotch Plains, to report that she was struggling to breathe. When two officers responded to the park, they found that the woman had fallen unconscious. Nearby, they also discovered a structure made of tarp and other materials that contained the chemicals , which the woman had apparently attempted to mix in a bucket, Wayman s aid.





Tags: Canada, public, release, injury, chlor ine


A Boys and Girls Club in Ottawa's west end has reope ned after a pool maintenance worker was sent to hospital after exposure to chlorine gas Tuesday morning.


The worker mistakenly mixed hydrochloric acid =97 us ed as a cleaner =97 with another chemical, creating chlorine gas, accor ding to Marc Messier, a spokesman with Ottawa Fire Services.


A hazardous materials team was sent to the club at 2 825 DuMaurier Ave. around 6:15 and ventilated the building.


The worker was overcome by the fumes and treated on the scene by paramedics who said he had a serious inhalation injury. The 57 -year-old man was taken to hospital but is expected to recover.

< /DIV>







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