Ammonium Nitrate

Decent Essays
On April 19th, 1995 in downtown Oklahoma City, there was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. The blast killed 168 people and hundreds more were injured and before September 11, 2001, it was considered the worst terrorist attack to take place on U.S. soil (, 2015). The bomb used was an Ammonium Nitrate Truck/Fertilizer Bomb. Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3) is a small, colorless crystal that is made by mixing nitric acid and ammonia salt used all around the world. It is an oxidizing agent, which means that by itself, it isn’t flammable unless put under extreme conditions of heat and pressure in a confined space. However, but if put around something combustible like wood, paper or oil, it will ignite…show more content…
It’s great when used in fertilizers because it helps the plants grow faster and healthier. It is often used by farmers because of these qualities. The concentration of ammonia released from Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer isn’t high enough to cause direct environmental or human health outdoors, but when in a small enclosed area, the concentration can accumulate to toxic levels (Reid, 2005). However, there can be some environmental hazards as well. When nitrogen leaves the root zone, it can affect the water in the surrounding area, both in the ground and on the surface. Eutrophication can also occur if not careful. Eutrophication is when runoff from the land, usually a farm that uses Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer, causes excessive richness of nutrients in and surrounding a lake. This causes dense growth of plant life and animals won’t live there because of lack of oxygen. It was recognized as a pollution problem in European and North American lakes and reservoirs in the mid-20th century (ScienceDaily, 2015) Also, it can have bad health hazards connected with it. Inhalation of high concentration of its dust can cause sublethal effects such as sore throat, coughing, irritation of the respiratory tract, and can cause methemoglobinemia- a blood disorder in which there is an abnormal amount of methemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin, is produced. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that…show more content…
It can be used for negative things like disasters such as the Oklahoma City bombing, where a truck full of fertilizer bombs blew up the north side of a federal building, where ammonium nitrate was used in a malicious intent, or the Texas City Disaster where a truck full of Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer blew up from a stray cigarette. For neutral things such as miners using ANFO to clear rocks so that they can keep mining for resources. Or for good like farmers use fertilizer to grow crops to eat or laughing gas at dentist
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