Explaining Hydrogen Cyanide

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December 2013, in the middle of intersection of Interstate 25 and 80, a tanker hauling Hydrogen Cyanide overturns. This scenario can prove to be a tricky one, if it is not properly handled. Explaining ways to clean up this spill is best put in step-by-step instructions.

The first thing we need to know about is the chemical itself. Hydrogen Cyanide can be extremely dangerous depending on which state of matter it is in. Liquid form is highly absorbable; meaning once it touches a surface (i.e. human skin), it is absorbed at once. From changing Hydrogen Cyanide to gas, it will take a minimum temperature of 79°F to bring it to a boiling point (Occupational Health Guideline for Hydrogen Cyanide, 1978, pg. 2). In the gaseous form, Hydrogen Cyanide is more dangerous if inhaled and it also happens to be more flammable and explosive. If a person is exposed to Hydrogen Cyanide gas in concentrations of 100- 300mg/pps, death can happen between 10-60 minutes; inhaling 2,000 parts per million can cause death in little than a minute (Enviroment & Health Effects, n.d.).

Thus explaining Hydrogen Cyanide, it shows that the situation is more dangerous than what it appears. The intersection of I-25 and I-80 is busy; you not only have people driving to different parts of Cheyenne, you also have drive-thru traffic heading to Denver, Casper, Laramie, Nebraska, etc. Traffic is not the only problem though. An overturned tanker can cause a huge fire hazard; adding that to the Hydrogen Cyanide,

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