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Environmental, Health & Safety Blog
What do you know about sodium azide? Sodium azide is used in many hospitals and labs. When discharged improperly into metal piping, it can create metal azide salts that can cause an explosion.
Sodium azide can be an extreme hazard when released into a facility’s plumbing infrastructure. Many healthcare institutions and life science organizations have hemostatis systems and blood coagulation equipment that utilize diluting fluid or preservative that contain low concentrations of sodium azide. Though the concentration of sodium azide in the solution is low, the discharges may buildup azide salts in the plumbing system. Buildup of sodium azide commonly occurs in pipe fittings, threading, and p-traps. Sodium azide has the potential to react with metals commonly found in the plumbing infrastructure, such as copper and lead, to form insoluble metallic azides – a highly explosive and shock sensitive compound. Explosion can occur when the metal azides experience friction, heat, or shock; or come in contact with other chemicals.
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