View Full Version : Anhydrous Ammonia, Emergency response and near naked public showers

17-12-2011, 11:19 PM
I would imagine that over the years most Ammonia technicians develop super high inhalation tollerences for this wonderful stuff, whilst non accustomed on lookers are both horrified and amazed at the R717 fridgee's ability to breath this "toxic" gas.
But what makes something toxic? Is it the dose and or time taken to have a negative reaction ? Water is also toxic eventually.
There is plenty of ammonia data regarding concentration markers for the average worker..In most countries 25ppm is the TWA (8 hour limit) and 35ppm STEL (15min). Has any one ever tried to get the labour department to agree on a figure for Ammonia technicians? They seem to think that once that reading hits 35ppm we pack up for the day?
Our kidneys have an amazing ability to process excess Ammonia in our blood some 12 times normal production, but why stress our bodies for the commercial gains of others?
Most mask filters will cope well between 2000ppm- 5000ppm, what is your maximum concentration level that you will move to a S.C.B.A and gas suit, what level suit is it that you use? From what i understand Ammonia does not become a dermal risk until its reaches levels of 10,000 which will produce mild irritation. The level most emergency responders use is half the IDLH (150ppm!!!) Most of us would snort that up our nose if we ran out of coffee in the morning! I have personally been dragged from a room by the Fire service at 300ppm and forced to wash near naked in a decom shower in the street. the same officer almost dove through a plantroom window when I lit a Sulphur taper thinking the plant would explode violently! It would be just nice to get given some realistic numbers to work with that every one agrees on based on factual evidence not a safety advisors opinion on the dangers of TOXIC NH3? Notice how all News articles of Ammonia releases have a little paragraph at the end stating the toxicity to humans? Never do they mention that very little people have ever died from ammonia who was not in the source zone, or that you have a better chance of winning lotto, Or how about Ammonia is one of the most important chemicals to our existence if you smell it walk away and shut up.
Interested in your opinions and any emergency stories?

18-12-2011, 12:34 AM
I know exactly where are coming from, and that pratt from the Fire Service Chemical response unit. An over ambicious self opinonated ******. From memory the concentration rate for explosive atmosphere is around 25k PPM, in that situation take large and rapid steps out of there, your nuts will be burning.

18-12-2011, 02:35 AM
We are on the same page then with Mr DTG hahaha, he is clueless,I like the way when ever you mention his name people give the same reaction. Yea its depends which chart you look at I guess but I take the LEL as 13% and UEL as 27%, (1/5th = 26,000ppm) I have read that the LEL can drop as low as 10% with misting oil.

19-12-2011, 04:38 PM
Gaseous ammonia effects at various concentrations are as follows:

25 ppm or less - TWA
25-50 ppm - Detectable odor; unlikely to experience adverse effects
50-100 ppm - Mild eye, nose, and throat irritation; may develop tolerance in 1-2 weeks with no adverse effects thereafter
140 ppm - Moderate eye irritation; no long-term sequelae in exposures of less than 2 hours
400 ppm - Moderate throat irritation
500 ppm - IDLH
700 ppm - Immediate eye injury
1000 ppm - Directly caustic to airway
1700 ppm - Laryngospasm
2500 ppm - Fatality (after half-hour exposure)
2500-6500 ppm - Sloughing and necrosis of airway mucosa, chest pain, acute lung injury (ALI), and bronchospasm
5000 ppm - Rapidly fatal exposure

For me, I always put on a full face-mask before opening a system, this way I am both protecting my eyes and giving myself a fighting chance to get out of there if something unforeseen should happen, like a shutoff valve suddenly failing.

I haven't had any incidents with ammonia to date, other than some burning balls a few times :) and I have never gotten to the level where I have had to don a full suit.

knock on wood for 16 more years without any incidents :)

19-12-2011, 05:37 PM
Very usefull info there Tyco. Thanks very much.

19-12-2011, 07:00 PM
Thanks Tycho, What concentration = Burning balls?

19-12-2011, 07:23 PM
It depends if you shave em or not.

19-12-2011, 07:48 PM
Does shaving make it worse or better?
Here it is i finally found what I was looking for, Ammonia is not absorbed through the skin. Chem suits should be worn after 300ppm to avoid ball burning and liquid splashes.


19-12-2011, 09:25 PM
Has anyone seen this vid!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzObhHet9QM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzObhHet9QM)

20-12-2011, 12:13 AM
Hi Nh3.
hadn't seen before, scary.

20-12-2011, 06:09 AM
Very sad.

15-02-2012, 07:26 PM
Shaving is far better as you dont have to have a funeral for the pubic lice!!!!!!!!