25 Most Dangerous Chemicals in The World (Health and Safety Awareness)

Chemicals have been parts of our daily life in many aspects. Most of the products we use, we eat, and we consume consist of chemicals. Some of the chemicals are dangerous, but if they are used in a right amount they will be very useful for human’s life. It is known that some industries rely on dangerous chemicals for their production or processing systems, and even though those dangerous chemicals will be attached to the products in the small amount or even none at all, factories need those dangerous chemicals in a big scale.

Transporting and storing the chemicals are not easy, not to mention if the chemicals are dangerous. It has been a challenge for some companies to get permit to use dangerous chemicals, to transport the chemicals and to store it at their warehouse. Not a small amount of money is spent by the companies to provide dangerous chemicals for their production. This procedure needs to be difficult and expensive, so that the dangerous chemicals cannot be obtained easily, because they can be life threatening and a deadly weapon.

Here, we are going to get to know the list of dangerous chemicals in the world, the characteristics and how can they be useful and dangerous.

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1. Nitric Acid (HNO3)

Most Dangerous Chemicals in The World is Nitric acid, Some people know nitric acid as aqua fortis or spirit of niter. Nitric acid basically looks like water, with no color or strong smell. However, if we keep it a bit longer, it will slowly change to yellowish. We can easily find nitric acid with concentration of 63% water. The more nitric acid in a composition, the more dangerous and corrosive it is. Non-active metals, like copper and silver, react strongly to nitric acid. However, not all metals react to nitric acid. Gold or other precious metals do not react to nitric acid. It seems like this characteristics make nitric acid useful to identify good and precious metals. Some people use it as the cheap and easy way to recognize gold alloys.

  • The Characteristics

In a right acid concentration and other variables involved, nitric acid can also be explosive. An interaction between nitric acid and metals in a specific circumstance can cause a very serious damage or even an explosion. Some metals like aluminum, iron and chromium can be easily melted in nitric acid. When reacting to non metals, nitric acid can also be explosive. Hence, nitric acid is commonly used to produce well-known explosives like TNT. Nitric acid turns into yellow nitrated products when it reacts to protein. This may also be resulted from the amino acids contained in the protein.

  • The Contribution to Industry

Besides being used in producing TNT, nitric acid is also used as the oxidizer for rockets. It can also trace metals in solution, which is very useful for recognizing valuable metals and sort them out from the less valuable ones. Nitric acid can also make wood looks better. And the most familiar thing is, given the corrosive characteristics, nitric acid can make your metal equipments look shiny and clean.

Now, imagine the same reaction take place on your skin. That is how dangerous nitric acid can be. The chemical burns are the common reaction when nitric acid touches our skin. Washing the skin exposed by nitric acid using water is the easiest first aid.

2. Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)

Hydrogen fluoride can be in a form of liquid or gas. It is used in many kinds of industries, such as polymer and pharmaceuticals. Hydrogen Fluoride is colorless and lighter than the air. Despite of its advanced usage in industries, hydrogen fluoride is one of the most dangerous chemicals. There many differences hydrogen fluoride have compared to other hydrogen halides. It is easily boiled and it gets dissolved with water in any proportion. The acidity of hydrogen fluoride is not high compared to other hydraulic acids.

  • The Characteristics

This chemical compound is considered as one of the dangerous chemicals. There are many things that make hydrogen fluoride is considered as dangerous chemical. This chemical compound might cause corrosion on metal. You also need to handle this chemical compound very carefully since it might cause burn on your skin and might also cause severe damage to your eyes. This chemical compound will also harmful if it’s digested or inhaled. You need to make sure that this chemical compound doesn’t enter your respiratory system when you handle it.

  • The Contribution to Industry

There are several cautions that you should notice when you handle this chemical compound. First, you are not allowed to eat, drink, or smoke when you use or handle this chemical compound. Second, you need to wash your hand thoroughly when you handle this chemical compound. If you accidentally inhale this chemical compound, you need to go to outside and get fresh air as soon as possible.

When you use this chemical compound, you have to work outdoor or in room with good ventilation and air circulation. If you accidentally digest this chemical compound, you need to wash your mouth thoroughly as soon as possible. When handling this chemical compound, you also have to wear gloves, protection goggles, face protector or mask, and hazmat suit according to standard that is applied.

3. Alkylphenol

Other chemical compound that is considered as dangerous chemical is alkylphenol. There are various types of alkylphenol that are usually used in industries these days. Some of them are nonylphenol (NP) and octylphenol and its ethoxylate, especially nonylphenolethoxylate (NPE). NP is commonly used in textile industries in the process of washing and coloring. This type of chemical compound is considered as toxic, especially for water ecosystem.

  • The Characteristics

Alkylphenol will remain in nature and can be accumulated in your body. The concentration of this chemical compound will increase through the chain of food. This characteristic is also known as biomagnify. So, when alkylphenol is released to water or river and fish are contaminated with this chemical compound and then the fish is eaten by human, the concentration of alkylphenol in human’s body will larger than the concentration of alkylphenol in fish.

  • The Contribution to Industry

Alkylphenol has structure that is similar to structure of estrogen, hormone that is also produced by human’s body. Since it has similar structure to estrogen, alkylphenol also can cause disturbance in sexual development in several types of organism. This chemical compound can cause feminization in fish. The use of NP is regulated strictly in Europe since 2005 and has been restricted since so.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemical compound that is commonly used to soften PVC (Plastic Polyvinyl Chloride). This chemical compound is considered as one of the most common chemical compounds that are used in industries these days. Besides it’s used in PVC industries, phthalates are also used in textile industries as well in the process of making synthetic leather. Phthalates are also used in the industries as the part of rubber making process and color making process as well.

  • The Characteristics

Even though there have been several studies about phthalates and its danger to human, this chemical compound is still used these days in many industries. There are very great concern about the level of toxic that can be found in phthalates such as DEHP (bis(2-ethylhexyl)pthalate) that is considered as toxic to reproduction system of mammals. DEHP might disturb the development of testicles in fetus.

DEHP and DBP (dibutyl pthalate) are categorized as toxic to reproduction system in Europe and the use of these chemical compounds are restricted. Under the regulations of Europe REACH, DEHP, DBP, and BBP (benzyl butyl phthalates) are banned in 2015.

  • The Contribution to Industry

Toys and accessories that are made by using PVC or rubber might contain phthalates. That’s why you need to be really careful when buy your kids toys. Kids tend to put the toys in their mouth. If the toys contain phthalates, this chemical compound can enter your kids’ digestive system and might cause health issue such as vomit or even problems in growth. Phthalates that are used as color for toys or to give toys certain aroma might be inhaled by kids and cause coughing or even nose and eyes irritation.

5. Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants

Brominated Flame Retardants or also known as BFR is persistent and bioaccumulative chemical compound that is commonly found in our environment. PBDE or polybrominated diphenyl ether is one of the chemical compounds that are considered as BFR. PBDE is commonly used in the process of making various elements and materials that are fireproof. This chemical compound is also used in the process of making fireproof textile as well.

  • The Characteristics

Several types of PBDE can harm hormone systems that are involved in sexual development and growth. Under the regulations that are applied in Europe, the use of several types of PBDE is strictly limited. One of the types of PBDE have been listed as ‘dangerous compounds that are priority to be eliminated’ according to Europe regulations about water. Direct actions are needed in order to get rid of the contamination of these chemical compounds in water.

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6. Azo Dyes

Azo dyes are one of the types of main coloring compounds that are used in textile industries. As suggested by its name, azo compound is used to color textile. Several types of azo dyes are degraded when they are used and will release chemical compounds that are known as aromatic amina. Several types of aromatic amina might cause cancer.

  • The Characteristics

Countries in Europe have been banned the use of azo dyes that can release amina compound since this compound can cause cancer. The use of azo dyes is banned in every textile that can have direct contact with human’s skin. Azo dyes are the most common material that is used in coloring process in textile industries.

Even though this chemical compound is non-toxic in low amount, but in certain level, certain types of azo dyes not only toxic but also carcinogenic as well. There are at least 3000 types of azo dyes that are used in textile industries these days. Besides it’s used in textile industries, azo dyes are also used in other products such as cosmetic, leather, paper, or even foods.

  • The Contribution to Industry

Azo waste that is dumped to the river or other water ecosystem can affect water transparency. As the result, penetration of sunlight to water ecosystem can be disturbed. Azo waste is also toxic as well. This chemical compound also might cause mutation in organisms that live on the water.

7. Organotin Compound

Organotin compound is used in biocide and anti-fungal materials in various products that are used every day. In textile industries, this compound is used for products such as socks, shoes, and sportswear to prevent stench that is caused by sweat.

  • The Characteristics

One of the most common types of organotin compound is tributyltin or TBT. One of the main uses of TBT is for leak proof paints that are applied on boat. However, after evidences are found that show this compound cannot be dissolved in environment, TBT is banned for use. TBT can accumulate in human’s body and might affect immune system and reproduction system. The use of TBT as leak proof paint is mostly prohibited these days. TBT is also used in textile industries as well.

  • The Contribution to Industry

TBT is listed as ‘dangerous compound priority’ under the Europe regulations. Thus, the direct actions need to be done in order to get rid of the contamination of this chemical compound in water ecosystem across Europe. From July 2010 to January 2012, products that contain organotin compound, including daily products, have been banned in every country in Europe.

8. Perfluorinated Chemicals

Other type of chemical that is considered as one of the most dangerous chemicals that can be found these days is perfluorinated chemicals. Perfluorinated chemical or also known as PFC is the type of manmade chemical compound that is widely used in industries since it has waterproof and anti-stick properties. This type of chemical compound is used in textile products and waterproof and stain-proof leather products.

  • The Characteristics

There are many evidences that show there are many types of PFC that cannot be dissolved in nature and can be accumulated in human’s body. The amount of PFC also can increase through food chain as well. Once this chemical compound enter your body, several of them are proven can affect your liver and disturb the work of hormones. PFC also can change the growth level and reproduction hormone as well.

  • The Contribution to Industry

One of the most popular types of PFC is perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS). PFOS is chemical compound that is very hard to be dissolved in nature and can remain for long term in ecosystem. PFOS is one of the ‘persistent organic pollutants’ which its distribution is limited under Stockholm Convention, a global treaty to protect human health and environment condition. PFOS is also prohibited in Europe and Canada as well for certain uses.

9. Chlorobenzenes

Chlorobenzenes are the type of bioaccumulative and persistent chemical compound that is used as emulsifier and biocide in the process of color making. The effect of expose to this chemical compound will depend on the type of chlorobenzenes. In short, this type of chemical compound can affect liver, thyroid, and nervous system. HCB or hexachlorobenzene is the chemical compound that is considered as most toxic and most persistent in this group. HCB can disturb the work of hormone.

  • The Characteristics

In countries of Europe, pentachlorobenzene and HCB are classified as ‘dangerous chemicals priority’. Due to this status, the direct actions are needed in order to get rid of the contamination of these chemical compounds in water ecosystem. These chemical compounds are also listed as ‘persistent organic pollutant’ that needs to be restricted globally under the Stockholm Convention. These chemical compounds are banned to be used and also scheduled to be stopped being used in Europe.

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10. Chlorinated Solvents

Chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethane or TCE are usually used in textile industries for dissolving other chemicals during the production process. This chemical compound is also used for cleaning the fabric as well in textile industries.

  • The Characteristics

According to many studies, TCE is considered as one of the materials that can cause damage to ozone layer. This type of chemical compound also cannot be dissolved naturally in environment as well. TCE is also known for its negative effects on center nervous system, liver, and kidney. Since 2008, the countries in Europe have been restricted the use of TCE strictly.

11. Chlorophenols

Chlorophenols are group of chemical compounds that is commonly used as biocide. The use of these chemical compounds is very wide from pesticides to textile to the wood preservation. Chlorophenols are also considered as one of the most dangerous types of chemicals that can be found these days. This is the dangerous chemical in the world but its compounds have been used in so many industries these days.

  • The Characteristics

Pentachlorophenol or PCP and its derivatives are used as biocide in textile industries. PCP is considered very toxic for human and might cause damages on various parts of human’s body, internally or externally. This type of chemical compound is also very toxic to organisms that live on water ecosystem as well. Countries in Europe have been banned the making of products that contain PCP in 1991. These days, the distribution and the use of products that contain this chemical compound are also strictly limited as well.

More Harmful Chemicals

These are 10 other dangerous chemicals in the world that are also bad but useful for human’s life.

  • Phosphoric Acid
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Xylene
  • Arsenic Hydride
  • Cyanogen Chloride
  • Ethyl Nitrite
  • Oxygen Difluoride
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Trichlorosilane

There are more dangerous chemicals in the world that you need to take care if you have to deal with it.

First Aid for Chemicals Poisoning

Thus, the safety may come down and we mistakely attacked by harmful chemicals in the workplace of somewhere else. Thus, here are several tips to help you in first aid for chemicals poisoning.

  1. Clean off the skin by flowing water for 10-20 minutes.
  2. Take off clothes and anything on your body that affected by chemicals.
  3. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) if the person cannot breath well.
  4. If it’s getting worse, send to hospital.

Those are several examples of chemical compounds that are considered dangerous for human and environment. If you have to deal with those chemical compounds, make sure you use proper safety procedure to protect yourself and the environment.

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