Micro Life Zone
Asked by moshimonsters09 to Blaire, Elizabeth, Jenny, Shona, Simon on 17 Mar 2013.
Keywords: chemical, danger
This is a great question. It is interesting because it depends on something that scientists call ‘toxicity’. Toxicity is the degree that a chemical can damage an organism (e.g. an animal or a plant). All chemicals have the potential to become toxic or dangerous, it just depends on how much exposure you have to them.
For example, iron is something we all need in our diet to make sure we are getting enough oxygen to our muscles, but too much can be toxic. Our body has a neat way of making sure it doesn’t absorb too much iron, so we don’t get sick. Unfortunately there are some people who suffer from a disease called hemochromatosis, and their bodies have trouble regulating their iron intake. They can become really sick from this and sometimes die.
This example is just to show you that there are things that can be good for your body in small doses, but in large doses they can be dangerous.
Some chemicals are very dangerous even in small doses. You may have heard of chemicals like cyanide, ammonia, arsenic, chlorine, hydrogen peroxcide… these things are pretty dangerous to humans if consumed even in small amounts.
Blarie is right, different chamical can be toxic at different levels.
Also different animals can react diferently to the same chemical and at the same level. an easy example is a chemical in chocolate called theobromine. This is toxic and can kill dogs in high levels, but the same chemical does not harm humans. Which is good!!
sometimes a chemical is not known to be dangourous until it is released into the environemnt. A good example is DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) which was use as a pesticide to kill insects, but was so dangourous to all animals it was removed and they stopped making it.
Chemicals are calssified into different groups depending on the dangour they can cause to humans. There are flammable good, dangourous goods and hazardous goods. This document if you go to Appendix C you can see all the chemical classifications for dangourous goods.
In a laboraotory there will always be an MSDS Folder (Material Safety Data Sheet), these sheet tell you everything you need to know about the chemicals that are present in that laboratory. By law every person in a lab has to be able to access these sheets so they know what chemicals are around them. You can do a search for any chemical MSDS sheets at this website https://www.chemsupply.com.au/home.aspx
The MSDS sheet tells you how toxic the chemical is, what protective gear you need if your using it and heeps of other important stuff.
This is the MSDS for formalin the chemical we use to preserve animals, you can see the first aid information and fire fighting information…
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2021