Concentrations Considered Life Threatening to EH&S or FS Professional During Tire Burning

Assignment Instructions

Air monitoring provides the following contaminant concentrations at the approximate center of a fire scene in which acres of automobile tires are burning: Carbon monoxide @ 1700 ppm; Carbon dioxide @ 7000 ppm; and Sulfur dioxide @ 600 ppm. Ignoring synergistic effects between these gases, which individual concentrations are considered life-threatening to the EH&S or FS professional responding to the scene? What combustion products are produced when materials made from polyacrylonitrile smolder and burn? What combination of properties is responsible for the selection of trinitrotoluene as a military explosive? Textbook use for this course is Meyer, E. (2010). Chemistry of hazardous materials (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

SAMPLE ANSWER

Burning of Tires

When tires are burned, unpleasant smell that comes from the smoke produced is attributed to sulfur-bearing compounds. However, other compounds such as carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide are also produced during combustion of tires. It is always difficult to predict the exact emissions and their concentrations when tires are burned. Air monitoring assists environmental health professionals to identify and quantify air contaminants in order to validate the level of worker protection that is required. Air monitoring at the center of a fire scene in which acres of automobile tires are burning revealed approximate contaminant concentrations as follows; Carbon monoxide @ 1700 ppm; Carbon dioxide @ 7000 ppm; and Sulfur dioxide @ 600 ppm. When the synergistic effects between these gases are ignored, the individual concentrations that are considered life-threatening to the environmental health and safety professional responding to the scene are; Carbon monoxide-50 ppm; Sulfur dioxide-120 ppm; and Carbon dioxide-350 ppm (Meyer, 2010).

The combustion products that are produced when materials made from polyacrylonitrile smolder are burnt include benzene, hydrogen chloride, and unsaturated hydrocarbons. When combustion occurs in the presence of oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water are also produced. Some of the combustion products that are released are always toxic. For instance, carbon monoxide is an asphyxiant and hydrogen chloride is a pulmonary and sensory irritant. A combination of several properties is responsible for the selection of trinitrotoluene as a military explosive. Trinitrotoluene is less susceptible to initiation and must be ignited using an initiating explosive. In addition, trinitrotoluene can be used as a booster for bombs and high explosive shells. Again, trinitrotoluene can easily be mixed with other explosives for use in military bombing (Meyer, 2010).

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