Reduction reaction is a reaction where the number of oxidation states is decreasing. Substances that undergo reduction are called oxidizers.
Oxidizing chemicals are actually chemicals that are not flammable, however they can produce oxygen that can cause fires. In addition to causing fires, these materials are also one of the reasons why firefighters have trouble putting out fires.
In general, oxidizing chemicals can give the following effects:
- Some oxidizing chemicals are poisonous or corrosive.
- Accelerate the burning.
- Causes noncombustible material to burn faster.
- Causes combustible material to burn faster without any clear source of the fire.
- Oxidizing chemicals are nonflammable but still can cause fire. Ignition involves the oxidation of flammable compounds. When a flammable compound burns, a chemical reaction occurs in which the fuel compound combines with oxygen. Then it generates heat, gas, even flame. Oxidizing compounds can provide oxygen supply and provide fire support even when there is no air. In producing oxygen, there are oxidizing agents that require heat and some are at room temperature.
- The effect of the oxidizing contact with the flammable compound depends on the stability of the oxidizing compound. The more unstable, the more dangerous the reaction will be.
Here are examples of oxidizing chemicals that cause some side effects:
- Ozone (O3)
Ozone is a chemical compound that is classified as a strong oxidizer. Ozone can be found in our earth’s atmosphere. In industrial area, ozone has also been used as an eraser of water pollution, washing and whitening fabrics, preserving groceries, and many more.
Ozone is also used in medical area for the ozone therapy practice. Besides all of those benefits, the strong oxidizing characteristics cause side effects, especially if the therapy practice is not appropriate. Often the patient complaints post therapy, such as:
- Disorders of the respiratory system (short breathing)
- Pain in the chest
Therefore, to prevent any negative side effects, we need to make sure that the action of therapy is performed by a certified institution. The given dose should also be ascertained in accordance with the ISCO, which is no more than 200ml of blood in the patient. Keep in mind, this therapy can not be done on pregnant women, and not recommended for women who are menstruating. That’s one of the oxidizing material effects. Also read about: Common Chemical Oxidizing Agents
- Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)
The hydrogen peroxide compound is widely used in various product compositions such as bleach, cleanser, wound cleanser, antiseptic, and others. However, the use of hydrogen peroxide in excessive doses can harm the body and the environment. Side effects that can be generated from it are as follows:
- May cause wider skin burns if it used to treat serious burns or deep wounds
- It generates and accelerates fires and explosions especially when there is friction, heat, or contamination.
- Direct contact with skin and eyes cause burns or corneal perforation
- Inhaling and swallowing peroxides with concentrations above 10% can cause ulcers, allergies, swelling of mucous membranes, and so on.
Here’s more about Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide for Health and Beauty
- Ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4)
This chemical is a combination of powerful oxidizing agents (perchlorate) and good fuel (ammonium). Both explain how ammonium perchlorate can be used as a rocket fuel.
Ammonium perchlorate is a chemical used in explosives and fireworks, as an oxidizer in rockets, adhesives, and much more. These chemicals can decompose and form toxic gases such as chlorine, hydrochloric acid, nitrous oxide at high temperatures. It can react violently with flammable materials, reducing agents, and metals.
In health area, contact with this substance can cause eye and skin irritation. Thus, we need to be careful to prevent the oxidizing material effects. Also read about Harmful Effects of Environmental Chemicals to Human Health
Storage and Usage
We can not store oxidizing chemicals anywhere we want as these chemicals are dangerous. Certain provisions are required in storage so it is not harmful. Especially in the usage, knowing how to use it right can enable us to work safely. Proper storage and use of chemical oxidizing agents is as follows:
- Stored in cold-temperature room, ventilated, and dry.
- Store at with temperatures around 14 ° C, avoid storage above 49 ° C and avoid exposed to direct sunlight.
- Keep away from sources of heat and heat
- Keep away from reducing or flammable chemicals
- Stored in a fireproof building
- Storage is separated from flammable, combustible, and reducing agents such as Zn, formic acid (HCOOH), and alkali metals.
- Store in containers that are not made of wood
- Stored in a place where tools and equipment are available to clean up the leftovers.
- Provide clear labeling, with accurate information for easy storage and usage.
- Check regularly to make sure no containers are leaking or open.
- Make sure the container is tightly closed to avoid leaks or contamination after the use of chemicals.
- Wash hands thoroughly after working with the oxidizer.
- Avoid touching the nose, rubbing the eyes with hands contaminated with oxidizing compounds
- In handling strong oxidizing agents, use standard laboratory equipment such as closed shoes, trousers, lab coats, laboratory glasses, and gloves.
- If the experiment mixes the oxidizer with other compounds, examine the available information in advance about possible reactions. So a great reaction or explosion can be avoided.
- The remainder of the compound after use in the experiment should not be returned to the container. Contamination of other materials can cause dangerous reactions.
Here’s more about Safe Warehousing of Chemicals by Chemical Manufacturers Association
How to Handle
It can not be denied that even though we have been very careful though, we are not completely protected from danger. Accidents or carelessness are still very likely to happen at any time. Therefore, it is necessary for us to know the first handling process and what we can do when an accident occurs;
- Skin contact: Rinse the affected skin with water for about 15 minutes until the pain disappear. If it does not work, seek professional paramedics immediately.
- Eye contact: Rinse eyes with water for 15 minutes, gently pull the upper and lower eyelids and roll the eyeball.
- Inhale: Breathe fresh air immediately.
- Swallowed: Rinse mouth with water, avoid provoking vomiting.
- Leakage: For solid oxidizers, brooms and collect. For liquid oxidizing agents can be cleaned with inert inert pads. If the liquid oxidizer is acidic, neutralize it first with sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
Also read about: Harmful Chemicals That Can Kill You