Personnel Hazards of Dry Chemical Systems

High school
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Dry chemical fire suppression systems delivers finely grounded flame-retardant powder onto a burning material. The powder suppresses fire in two ways. First, it interrupts the chemical chain reaction involved in the combustion. Second, the tremendous surface area of the particles allows it to absorb large amounts of heat and preventing re-ignition.


Dry chemical systems that include mica, clay and amorphous silica can contain small quantities of quartz or crystalline silica. Inhalation above the exposure limits (about 3 mg/m3) and prolonged respiratory exposure can increase the possibility of developing a disabling disease called as silicosis. The condition induces inflammation and scarring of nodular lobes in the lungs. It can induce chronic coughing and fever. Deposits of crystalline silica were also identified as carcinogenic to the human body though this is yet subject to further verification. Decompositions of compounds also include hazardous products such as ammonia, carbon oxides and phosphorous oxides. These can induce negative health effects such as fever and respiratory problems.
Dry chemical compounds are also extremely corrosive and abrasive to metals indicating that it can also cause skin diseases like dermatitis and other complications to eyes and other parts of the body. However, many dry chemicals in the market do not require extensive protective equipment especially in local applications. There is also the possibility of explosion of pressurized containers though this is quite unusual but possible. (Acme Fire, 2007)
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