Polymeric Materials or Compounds Combustion Features Relevant to Safety and Health of EH&S or FS Professional

Assignment Instructions

Identify and discuss three key features associated with the combustion of polymeric materials or compounds that are relevant to the safety and health of an EH&S or a FS professional responding to an incident involving these materials. textbook reference is  Meyer, E. (2010). Chemistry of hazardous materials (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Polymeric Material or Compound

Polymeric materials can either be natural or synthetic. Wood is a very good example of a natural polymeric material while the best example of a synthetic polymeric material is nylon. Polymeric materials are non-biodegradable and many people tend to eliminate them through combustion. Combustion of polymeric materials has been a big concern to environmental health and safety professionals with the sources of concern being the features associated with the combustion of these compounds. The three key features associated with combustion of polymeric material include combustion of polymeric compounds; occur in three different phases, produces unpleasant odor, and releases products that may be harmful to environmental health professionals who are responding to an incident involving such materials (Meyer, 2010).

Combustion of polymeric compounds involves the gas phase, mesophase, and condensed phase. During has phase, combustible polymeric compounds generate volatile fuel and air mixture that lead to ignition. The volatile compounds are carcinogenic and may cause serious health impacts to environmental health and safety professionals. Other harmful products that are released during the gas phase of polymeric compound combustion include carbon monoxide and acid gases that are toxic and produce irritating odor. Mesophase is the interphase between the gas phase and the condensed phase which results into the production of gaseous fuel vapors that are harmful when inhaled produces serious health risks an irreversible health impacts. The condensed phase involves formation of other polymeric materials that are products of combustion. The products cause respiratory and eye illness effects on environmental health and safety professionals. Majority of products of polymeric material combustion increase toxic loading on the environment and pose numerous health risks to environmental health and safety professionals who are responding to an incident involving such materials (Meyer, 2010).


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