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5 Toxic Gases and Chemicals (And How to Avoid Them)
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

It's not always as simple as you may think to determine which gases and other chemicals are safe for you to breathe. While this is not a precaution typically considered, it can save your life. The complications of our modern world are increasing, so should your knowledge of what's around you.

There are more harmful toxins in our air, water, and food than ever before. It is hard to determine what you may be exposed to when it's best to know this information, just in case.

Think of these as gas particles to avoid at all costs.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is the most well-known of gaseous substances with toxicity. It is relatively common to hear of someone inhaling the invisible gas. We all have a carbon monoxide doctor or have used one— what makes it so dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is hazardous when inhaled because it works to remove oxygen in your blood and from your major organs. The vital organs are deprived of oxygen, sometimes causing lasting damage. Lethal amounts can begin to affect you in minutes without warning — you then start to lose consciousness and suffocate.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide inhalation include nausea, headache and fatigue, and in severe cases, death.


Ammonia can be corrosive. Either in a liquid or gas state, exposure to high concentrations of ammonia as a gas causes immediate disruption of the respiratory tract, eyes, and throat. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema. This can create airway destruction resulting in respiratory failure.

A compounded reaction is triggered when the brain is exposed to large of ammonia. It has been found that ammonia can greatly compromise the levels of potassium in the human body.

Ammonia may one of the most common substances in this list but beware. Keep this chemical safety locked away at home.


Chlorine gas can be deadly. It is a highly dangerous pollutant for the heart and lungs. It is water soluble with the capability of causing moderate to severe damage to the body's respiratory system. Chlorine gas has many industrial uses as an innocent-seeming disinfectant for pools and spas. However, it was also once used as a chemical weapon in World War.

Breathing chlorine gas causes pulmonary edema—fluid buildup in the lungs. Accidents involving chlorine tend to happen, mostly around pools and spas.

Nitrogen Dioxide

Nitrogen dioxide poisoning usually occurs after the inhalation of the gas beyond safe levels. Nitrogen dioxide is a gas you can see, dark red in color. If the concentration of the chemical is too high or unsafe, there will be a very intense odor. If the concentration is lower the smell could still be present. Either way, this is a good indicator of the presence of nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide poisoning is dependent on the duration and level of exposure.

Nitrogen dioxide acts against the mucous membrane in the human body. As an irritant, it greatly affects the lungs and lower respiratory system. Like other toxic chemical gases, it is linked to pulmonary diseases, asthma, in fatal cases, suffocation, and death.


Phosgene inhalation may cause acute irritation when inhaled. Patients seem to heal and feel fine afterward. This can then result in sudden death from a subsequent choking a day later because of a buildup of fluid in the lungs (non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema). Exposure to phosgene is heavily associated with death.

It is a colorless gas. In low concentrations, its odor resembles freshly cut hay or grass. Phosgene is a valued chemical for industrial purposes, especially for the production of urethanes and polycarbonate plastics.

The Dangers of Chemicals Everywhere

Let it help you to approach an uncertain world with more certainty. These chemicals can appear, in some cases, rather suddenly. Toxicity is not something that is always addressed with the substances we keep in our homes.

Visit our site and keep your family safe. Contact us to discover more and let us know what you learned from this post. Like and comment to stay involved in all of our discussions, we love to hear from you.

Our goal at ATI is to help provide our customers with the knowledge needed to ensure a safe and healthy environment. Toward this goal, we strive to develop and produce the highest quality instruments available. Our commitment to continuous improvement of analytical sensing systems is the key to our steadily expanding monitoring capability, and provides our users with the power of reliable information.

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