Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NEWS: Ammonia Accident

Ammonia (chemical formula NH3) is an economically important substance because of its many uses, most notably in agricultural fertilizers and industrial refrigerators. Unfortunately, ammonia also is highly toxic, so much so that historically it was marketed as a war gas in World War I. The U S EPA includes ammonia among its list of Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs), along with such notorious substances as methyl isocyanate involved in the Bhopal disaster and chlorine gas. Many industrial and commercial accidents have involved ammonia and, indeed, ammonia accidents are tracked and entered into databases globally, as exemplified by the following news item: "Seven workers at the Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Willmar are recovering after an ammonia leak required employees to evacuate. The workers were treated and released at Rice Memorial Hospital after about 300 gallons of liquid ammonia were spilled about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday. Emergency crews closed the valve that released the chemical, and the cause of the leak was under investigation." SOURCE: Technical and policy articles on ammonia accidents and toxic effects exerted by ammonia are available in the Publication page of my firm's web site:

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