Azide refers to a class of chemical compounds with three nitrogen atoms. These are derivatives of hydrazoic acid, an organic derivative.
Most of these azides are unstable substances with high sensitivity to shock. Some of the alkyl azides and inorganic azides are usually used in percussion caps and initiating detonators.
Chemically, azides will behave like halogen compounds and react with other substances to form many compounds.
Acyl azides will be prepared when you react acid hydrazides and nitrous acid or react sodium azide and acyl chloride.
In addition, acyl azides are more stable than alkyl azides. When heated, they will undergo molecule rearrangement, therefore, forming isocyanates.
Understanding Sodium Azide
Sodium azide is an acting and potentially deadly chemical existing as a white and odorless solid.
If you mix sodium azide with water or acid, it changes to a toxic gas that has a pungent odor. In addition, it will change to toxic gas after it comes in contact with metals – especially after it gets in touch with a drainpipe with copper or lead.
The odor produced by sodium azide isn’t sharp but should give you sufficient warning.
Uses Of Sodium Azide
Sodium azide is the chemical you find in automobile airbags. When an electrical charge is triggered by an automobile, sodium azide explodes, thus converting to the nitrogen gas present in the airbag.
It is also used in preserving chemicals in laboratories and hospitals. Over the years, various accidents have occurred in these settings. There is a case where sodium azide was drained, and it exploded; thus, people in the area inhaled the toxic gas.
Sodium azide is used in explosives such as detonators.
Lastly, sodium azide is used as pest control in agriculture farms.
Ways Of Getting Exposed To Azides
When azides are released in water, you may be exposed by drinking that water. The water is usually contaminated with toxic azide derivatives.
Food could also be contaminated with azide chemicals. You may end up eating that contaminated food.
When sodium azide is released into the air, inhaling the air exposes you to these contaminants. You could also breathe in the dust formed.
Sodium azide enters the body causing symptoms through your skin contact. If there is an explosion involving azide, it exposes toxic gas to the air.
Signs of Exposure
When exposed to a small amount through skin absorption, eating foods, or breathing in, you’ll experience these symptoms after a few minutes:
- Cough due to dust or gas exposure
- Clear drainage from your nose due to dust or gas exposure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate restlessness
- Rapid breathing
- Red eyes
- Skin burns and blisters
If exposed to large amount may lead to these health problems:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Respiratory failure that leads to death
- Lung injury
- Slow heart rate
Remember that even when you show some of these signs will not necessarily mean it is exposed to azide. If you survive, you may experience permanent damages such as brain damage.