5 Harmful Irritant Chemicals Examples – Complete Explanations

Dangerous chemicals, one of them is harmful irritant. What is a harmful irritant? Harmful Irritant chemicals are chemicals that can damage body’s health when there is direct contact with the body either through inhalation, mouth, or through contact with the skin. Also learn more about Harmful Chemicals That Can Kill You

These chemicals are divided into two categories: Harmful (Xn) and Irritant (Xi). Both categories are equally harmful to the body. So, what’s the difference between them?

Harmful (Xn) Substances 

It is a chemical compound that will indicate an acute or chronic health risk if the chemical enters through the respiratory tract, through the mouth, and skin contact. This material is corrosive and can damage tissues. The R-Phrases for Xn coded materials are R20, R21 and R22
Materials belonging to this class include;

  1. Ethylene Glycol (C2H6O2)

Ethylene glycol is a compound that is colorless, odorless, has a sweet taste but is poisonous if swallowed.

  • Function: Common use is as antifreeze, coolant in hydraulic brake fluid, and ink on the pen.
  • Adverse reactions: Short-term (acute) contact of large amounts of ethylene glycol by mouth can result in three levels of health problems. First, central nervous system disorders, followed by heart and lung disorders, then kidney damage. The contact with lower dosage also cause effect, tough the effect is not dangerous as high dosage. That effect such as irritation on throat and upper respiratory tract. While the inhalation of this compound is categorized as non-harmful.
  • Secure storage:

For storage, store the ethylene glycol compounds separately with strong oxidizing agents and strong alkaline. Store it in air that is dry, cool, and well ventilated. Storage containers are certainly tightly closed. Containers made of stainless steel, aluminum, and glass are preferred for saving the liquid form. Also learn more about Chemicals Banned in Europe But Safe in the US

2. Dichloromethane (CH2Cl2)

This chemical is colorless, nonflammable, a volatile liquid with a sweet but very toxic scent when it is heated and decomposed.

  • Function:

Dichloromethane is commonly used as a solvent in paint erasers, in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, film coatings, and as a metal cleaner. These compounds are also used as propellants in aerosols for paint products, automotive, insect sprays. In removing caffeine from coffee, the use of this compound no longer works because of the amount of residue.

  • Side effects :

This compound is classified as irritant, so direct contact with it can cause irritation on skin, respiratory tract, and cause headache. These compounds are suspected of causing cancer and genetic disability. Inhalation results in effects similar to anesthesia, nausea, and motion sickness.

Short-term effects of contact with these compounds may include decreased on vision, hearing, motor impairment, but these effects may disappear if the contact no longer occurs. While long-term effects disrupt the central nervous system in both humans and animals.

Under certain conditions, this compound is flammable and produces steam or poisonous gas.

  • Secure storage:

Keep away from groceries. Keep it tightly closed in a cool, dry, well-ventilated room. Open containers should be stored facing up to avoid spillage. This compound is sensitive to heat, store in an inert gas. To minimize the possibility of decomposition, storage containers may be galvanized or coated with phenolic coatings.  

3. Pyridine (C5H5N)

Pyridine is a colorless chemical compound, in the form of a liquid with the smell of acid, rotten, like the smell of fish. The gas is heavier than air.

  • Function:

Pyridine is often used as an antifreeze mixture, for ethyl alcohol, a fungus exterminator, or as a textile dye. In addition, this compound is also used to dissolve other compounds. Used also in the manufacture of drugs, vitamins, food colorings, paints, rubber products, adhesives, insecticides, and herbicides.

  • Side effects

This compound is dangerous when inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Inhalation irritates the eyes and nose, while the liquid irritates the skin. Generally known as a compound capable of reducing male fertility and suspected to be carcinogenic. Common symptoms are headache, cough, asthma, laryngitis, nausea, vomiting, and even a nervous breakdown.

These compounds are flammable and produce toxic gases. Because it is heavier than air in its gas form, the gas can be transported far back and toward the source of fire.

  • Safe storage

Store it in well ventilated areas and away from sources of fire, water sources, or gutters. If there is a broken container, do not touch or grasp it unless with adequate equipment.  

Irritant (Xi) Substances 

The Chemicals that are classified as Irritant will show an inflammatory effect if the material is in direct contact with the skin and mucous membranes either instantly, long-term or repeatedly. This material is not corrosive, but can cause inflammation. The R-phrases for the Xi code are R36, R37, R38 and R41.

Materials classified as irritant chemicals examples include:

1. Ammonia (NH3)

The gas belonging to this weak alkaline is colorless, has a distinctive pungent aroma. Although commonly found in nature and used for various purposes, ammonia is caustic and dangerous in concentrated form

Also read: Nitrogen (N): Nature, Usability and Type

  • Function

This compound is widely used in cleaning products, as one of the constituents in the synthesis of pharmaceutical products. For those interested in the world of agriculture, planters, ammonia is also known as fertilizer. In the fermentation process, this compound is used as a pH controller and a nitrogen provider for microorganisms.

Associated with the nature of evaporation, it makes ammonia a cooler that is often used before the freon. Due to its high efficiency as well as an affordable price, ammonia is used for cooling the hockey arena. However, its toxic nature makes its use limited. Even ammonia also plays a role in the human body, especially in the excretory system.

  • Side effects

In the case of high concentrations of inhalation, it can cause burns along the organs of the Human Respiratory Organs and respiratory failure. While low concentrations will cause cough, spasms, chest pain, and airway irritation.

Just like inhalation, skin and eye contact with high concentrations of ammonia also cause burns even blindness. No less dangerous, contact with the skin with liquid nitrogen can lead to frost bite (injury), a skin freezing due to contact with cold temperatures.

If ammonia is ingested, the effect is corrosion of the mouth and stomach, such as burning along the organs of human digestive organs, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Other symptoms that can be caused by contact with these compounds are dizziness, anxiety, decreased motor coordination, to fainting.

2. Benzyl Chloride (C6H5CH2Cl)

Benzyl chloride is a colorless reactive compound with a distinctive pungent odor. This compound reacts strongly with strong oxidizing agents.

  • Function:

These compounds are used as dyes, flavorings, fragrances, even used in photography. Previously, in this battle the compound was used as an irritant gas.

  • Side effects :

This compound is irritating to the skin, eyes, and mucous membrane that it is in contact with. Contact with the skin can cause redness and pain. Contact with the eyes cause red eye, watery, and the view becomes not clear. Meanwhile, if the compound is ingested, will cause a burning sensation, diarrhea,vomiting, and abdominal pain.

In cases where benzyl chloride is inhaled, burning can also be generated, other than coughing, dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath. It is very toxic so that it can cause death or permanent effect after short contact with small amounts. Contact with large doses can cause central nervous system depression. These compounds are also touted to be carcinogenic. In combustion, gas is produced toxic and corrosive.

  • Secure storage:

Store it in dry, well ventilated, and away rooms from food or chemicals that do not fit benzyl chloride such as strong oxidizing agents.  

How to Treat Irritant Chemicals

Along with the irritant chemicals examples, here’s how to treat irritant chemicals explosive:

  • Eye

In the eye, in case of harmful contact, for contact lens users, check and then remove from the eye. Rinse eyes with clean water 20-30 minutes before contacting the hospital. It is recommended not to provide any medication without advice from a doctor or medical personnel.

  • Skin

If the part of body that is in contact are the skin, quickly flush with as much water as possible while removing all contaminated objects. Slowly, wash the affected area of chemicals with water and soap. If redness or irritation is encountered, call and immediately take the victim to a doctor.

  • Respiratory

Meanwhile, if contact occurs through the respiratory tract or inhalation, immediately leave the contaminated place and breathe fresh air. If symptoms are found for Human Respiratory Disorders such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath, or burning, contact medical personnel. In a victim who can not breathe or develop apnea, give it an artificial breath immediately. While in the victims who are short of breath or dyspnea, it is advisable to provide oxygen cylinders. For rescue or medical personnel, first prepare protective respiratory equipment before entering the contaminated area.

  • Digestion

Which should not be ignored again, most of us will soon try to vomit or remove unknown substances that are accidentally ingested in the body, right? However, it should be understood that if swallowed this chemical, avoid provoking vomiting. If the victim is still on the verge of awareness, give 1 or 2 glasses of water to dissolve the chemical.

However, if the victim is unconscious, do not enter anything into the victim’s mouth, make sure the open air outlet and lay the victim with a lower head position than the body. After first aid, immediately seek medical help and take the victim to get further treatment.

Also read about : Harmful Effthects of Environmental Chemicals to Human Health