What Are the First Aid Procedures and Health Factors Related to Anhydrous Ammonia Leaks?

Following is the CAMEO information for an Anhydrous Ammonia leak. CAMEO or Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations is a system of software applications and tools that interact with weather data to respond to hazmat chemical emergencies. CAMEO is developed by the EPA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration (NOAA), to assist front-line chemical emergency planners and responders.

Health and First Aid Information for Anhydrous Ammonia from CAMEO Chemicals

Warning: Ammonia is extremely corrosive to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Contact with the liquified gas may cause frostbite. Caution is advised.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Ammonia Exposure: Inhalation of ammonia may cause irritation and burns of the respiratory tract, laryngitis, dyspnea (shortness of breath), stridor (high-pitched respirations), and chest pain. Pulmonary edema and pneumonia may also result from inhalation. A pink frothy sputum, convulsions, and coma are often seen following exposure to high concentrations. When ammonia is ingested, nausea and vomiting may result; oral, esophageal, and stomach burns are common. If ammonia has contacted the eyes, irritation, pain, conjunctivitis (red, inflamed eyes), lacrimation (tearing), and corneal erosion may occur. Loss of vision is possible. Dermal exposure may result in severe burns and pain.

Emergency Life-Support Procedures: Acute exposure to ammonia may require decontamination and life support for the victims. Emergency personnel should wear protective clothing appropriate to the type and degree of contamination. Air-purifying or supplied-air respiratory equipment should also be worn, as necessary.

Inhalation Exposure:
1. Move victims to fresh air. Emergency personnel should avoid self-exposure to ammonia.

2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.

3. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.

4. Transport to a health care facility.

Dermal/Eye Exposure:
1. Remove victims from exposure. Emergency personnel should avoid self- exposure to ammonia.

2. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.Warning: Do not attempt to neutralize with an acid wash; excessive liberation of heat may result.

3. If eye exposure has occurred, eyes must IMMEDIATELY be flushed with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.

4. Remove contaminated clothing as soon as possible.

5. Wash exposed skin areas THOROUGHLY with soap and water.

6. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.

7. Transport to a health care facility.

Ingestion Exposure:
1. Evaluate vital signs including pulse and respiratory rate, and note any trauma. If no pulse is detected, provide CPR. If not breathing, provide artificial respiration. If breathing is labored, administer oxygen or other respiratory support.

2. DO NOT induce vomiting or attempt to neutralize!

3. Obtain authorization and/or further instructions from the local hospital for administration of an antidote or performance of other invasive procedures.

4. Activated charcoal does not strongly bind ammonia, and therefore is of little or no value.

5. Give the victims water or milk: children up to 1 year old, 125 mL (4 oz or 1/2 cup); children 1 to 12 years old, 200 mL (6 oz or 3/4 cup); adults, 250 mL (8 oz or 1 cup). Water or milk should be given only if victims are conscious and alert.

6. Transport to a health care facility. (EPA, 1998)

See also …
CAMEO Chemicals | AMMONIA, ANHYDROUS

New York State Department of Health | The Facts About Ammonia

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