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Preventing Chemical Accidents:  Understanding MSDS’s & Assessing Chemical Hazards

Hazardous Chemicals Found in Industrial Facilities

Chemicals

Uses

Overexposure Health Effects

ANHYDROUS AMMONIA

A corrosive, colorless gas with a strong odor.

It is used in refrigeration and in making fertilizer, plastics, dyes, textiles, detergents, and pesticides.  

ACUTE: Skin irritation, burning eyes, causing temporary or permanent blindness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.  HIGH: Fluid in the lungs, which may lead to death.  CHRONIC: Lung damage, bronchitis with coughing or shortness of breath.

CHLORINE

A greenish-yellow gas with a strong, irritating odor.  

It is used in making other chemicals, as a disinfectant, in bleaching, and for purifying water and sewage.  

ACUTE: Severe eye and skin burns, throat irritation, tearing, coughing, nose bleeds, chest pain.  HIGH: Permanent lung damage, fluid build-up in the lungs and death.  CHRONIC: Tooth damage, bronchitis, coughing, and shortness of breath.  

ETHYLENE OXIDE

A colorless gas that is highly flammable, reactive, and explosive.  

It is used to make antifreeze, polyesters, and detergents, and is used for industrial sterilization.  

ACUTE: Irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, weakness, and loss of muscle control.  HIGH: Loss of consciousness, fluid in the lungs, and death.  CHRONIC: May cause cancer and birth defects, damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.

HYDROGEN CHLORIDE (HYDROCHLORIC ACID)

A corrosive, colorless to slightly yellow gas with a strong odor.

It is used in metal processing, analytical chemistry, and in making other chemicals.  

ACUTE: severe burns of the skin and eyes, coughing, shortness of breath. HIGH: Fluid build-up in the lungs and possibly death.  CHRONIC: Lung and tooth damage.

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