Safetygram 18

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is nonflammable, colorless, and odorless in the gaseous and states. Carbon dioxide is a minor but important constituent of the atmosphere, averaging about 0.036% or 360 ppm by . It is also a normal end-prod- uct of human and animal .

Dry carbon dioxide is a relatively inert . In the event moisture is present in high , carbonic acid may be formed and materials resistant to this acid should be used. High flow rates or rapid depressurization of a system can cause approaching the sublimation point (–109.3°F [–78.5°C]) to be attained within the system. Carbon dioxide will convert directly from a liquid to a if the liquid is depressurized below 76 psia (61 psig). The use of ma- terials which become brittle at low temperatures should be avoided in applications where temperatures less than –20°F (–29°C) are expected. Vessels and piping used in carbon dioxide service should be designed to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) or Department of Transportation (DOT) codes for the and temperatures involved.

Physical properties are listed in Table 1. Carbon dioxide in the gaseous state is colorless and odorless and not easily detectable. Gaseous carbon dioxide is 1.5 times denser than air and therefore is found in greater concentrations at low levels. Ventilation systems should be designed to exhaust from the lowest levels and allow make-up air to enter at a higher level.

Manufacture Carbon dioxide is produced as a crude by-product of a number of manufactur- ing processes. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of steam reforming of , or naphtha. The fermentation of sugar to and the production of lime and phosphate also generate carbon dioxide. Additionally, carbon dioxide exists in natural wells. Once the product has been isolated, im- purities are filtered out, moisture is removed in driers, and the purified carbon dioxide is compressed for liquefaction.

Uses Liquid carbon dioxide is used widely in the food industry for freezing meats, poultry, vegetables, and fruits. Solid carbon dioxide (dry ) is used to cool meats prior to grinding and also to refrigerate meat and poultry during transit. Soft drinks, wines, and beers are produced using gaseous carbon dioxide for carbonation. Carbon dioxide is used in treatment to neutralize alkaline water. Liquid carbon dioxide is also used to increase recovery from oil and gas wells. Other industrial uses include the production of chemicals, , rubber, , and electronic components. Health Effects Table 1: Carbon Dioxide Physical and Chemical Properties

The physiological effects of carbon Molecular Formula CO2 dioxide are unique because it is an Molecular 44.01 end-product of metabolism, a vital Boiling Point @ 1 atm (sublimes) –109.3°F (–78.5°C) component of the acid-base mecha- Freezing Point @ 76 psia –69.9°F (–56.6°C) nism that controls blood pH, and an Critical 87.9°F (31.0°C) active messenger substance in the Critical 1,070 psia (72.9 atm) linking of , circulation, and Density, Liquid @ –35°F (–37°C), 11 atm 68.74 lb/cu. ft. vascular response. Density, Gas @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm 0.115 lb/cu. ft. The blood and cellular fluids are actu- Density, Solid @ –110°F (–79°C), 1 atm 97.4 lb/cu. ft. ally a of sodium bicarbonate Specific Gravity, Gas (air=1) @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm 1.53 and other substances. Severe exposure Specific Gravity, Liquid @ –35°F (–37°C), 11 atm 1.10 to carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm 8.7 cu. ft./lb in the blood that exceeds buffering Latent Heat of Sublimation 10,900 Btu/lb capacity of the sodium bicarbonate. in Water @ 68°F (20°C), 1 atm 87.8% by volume The decrease in pH has a rapid toxic effect because the neural control systems are excessively driven. These Occupation Exposure Limit effects are independent of the amount U.S. OSHA specifies that employee Bulk carbon dioxide is typically stored of in the atmosphere. exposure to carbon dioxide in any as a liquid in storage tanks with ca- 8-hour shift of a 40-hour work week pacities of 6, 14, 26, and 50 tons. Tanks Low of carbon dioxide shall not exceed the 8-hour time- are insulated by polyurethane can be tolerated for a considerable weighted average (TWA-PEL) of with a vapor barrier, which provides period of time without noticeable 5,000 ppm (0.5%; 9,000 mg/m3). weather protection. The tanks are effect, or may merely cause an un- According the American Conference fabricated from carbon according natural feeling of shortness of breath. of Governmental Industrial Hygienists to ASME Standards. Carbon dioxide is Sustained exposure of 5% carbon (ACGIH), the short-term exposure limit maintained below 305 psig by a refrig- dioxide produces stressful rapid (STEL/Ceiling) for 15 minutes of less is eration unit and above 245 psig with . When the carbon dioxide 30,000 ppm (3%; 54,000 mg/m3). Since a pressure buildup coil so that carbon level exceeds 7%, the rapid breathing oxygen exposure limits and defini- dioxide can be stored for an indefinite becomes labored and restlessness, tions vary by region/country, consult period without venting. Smaller liquid faintness, severe headache, and dull- relevant legislation for the appropri- are stored and shipped ing of consciousness occur. At 15%, ate limits. in cryogenic liquid cylinders with a unconsciousness accompanied by ri- capacity of 384 pounds (3352 standard gidity and tremors occurs in less than cubic feet). Cryogenic liquid cylinders 1 minute and in the 20% to 30% range are vacuum-jacketed and can hold it produces unconsciousness and con- product for long periods without vent- vulsions in less than 30 seconds. The ing. Cryogenic liquid cylinders can effects occur quickly since the carbon either supply liquid or gas and liquid. dioxide diffuses in the tissue fluids at a rate approximately 20 times more rapidly than oxygen. High concentra- tions of carbon dioxide can asphyxi- ate quickly without warning and not possibility of self-rescue regardless of the oxygen concentration. Carbon dioxide is shipped and stored Shipment of carbon Safety considerations as a liquefied compressed gas in hol- Carbon dioxide is stored and trans- low steel and aluminum cylinders. dioxide In the United States, the transporta- ported as a liquefied compressed gas. The cylinders have a concave base tion of carbon dioxide in interstate The following are associated which allows the cylinders to stand commerce by rail, highway, air and with liquefied compressed carbon upright and are tapered to a small water is governed by federal author- dioxide. opening on the top. The tapered or ity under regulations promulgated by open end is threaded to receive a 1. High pressure involved in storage DOT. cylinder or other suitable outlet and service equipment. connection. Safety relief devices are – For bulk shipments by road DOT 2. Carbon dioxide is 1.5 times heavier part of the cylinder valve or the outlet 103/4" x 103/4" nonflammable gas than air and will not readily connections. A threaded neck ring placards are required on the trailer. disperse in the atmosphere. is secured to the tapered end of the Asphyxiation may be a in cylinder to allow a protective cylinder – For gas cylinders a DOT 4" x 4" confined areas. cap to be installed. Cylinders are man- nonflammable gas or tag is ufactured according to Department of required 3. Carbon dioxide in high concentra- Transportation (DOT) specifications. – Cryogenic liquid carbon dioxide tions is toxic to humans as de- Cylinders in carbon dioxide service are cylinders are shipped under DOT scribed in the health effects section. hydrostatically tested upon manufac- Exemption Number 7638. A copy ture, and every five years thereafter at 4. Vaporizing carbon dioxide can pro- of this exemption must be carried 5/3 times the service pressure. duce very cold temperatures. Liquid aboard each vessel, aircraft or mo- carbon dioxide that contacts the tor vehicle used to transport the skin can cause freeze burn or frost- cylinders. Each cryogenic cylinder bite. Carbon dioxide, solid below Carbon dioxide cylinder valve connec- must be plainly marked on both 61 psig, is very cold and sublimes tion standards have been adopted by sides near the middle, in letters at so quickly that prolonged contact CGA. Carbon dioxide cylinders use a least two inches high on a contrast- with the skin causes freeze burn or CGA 320 outlet connection. For addi- ing background, “DOT-E 7638.” The frostbite. tional information on cylinder valves, DOT 4" x 4" green nonflammable consult Air Products’ “Safetygram-23: gas label or tag is also required for Cylinder Valves.” common carrier shipments. Buildings 1. Provide adequate ventilation.

Safety devices 2. The atmosphere in areas in which Bulk liquid storage tanks are protected carbon dioxide gas may be vented against excessive pressures, which and collect should be tested with may result from heat leak, by reseat- a portable or continuous monitor- able relief devices. Cryogenic liquid ing carbon dioxide gas analyzer to cylinders are equipped with reseat- ensure ventilation is adequate. able relief devices and are additionally protected with burst discs. Gas cylin- ders are protected from rupture due to fire by a frangible disc sometimes backed by a fusible with a melt- ing temperature of about 212°F (100°C). Handling and storage Where exposure to liquefied com- Personnel should be trained in the pressed gas may occur, employees People suffering from carbon dioxide proper storage, handling and use of should also wear a full face-shield and exposure should be moved to fresh air. carbon dioxide cylinders. For ad- clean, loose-fitting, thermal-insulated If the victim is not breathing, artificial ditional information, see CGA P-1, gloves to protect the eyes, face and respiration should be administered “Safe Handling of Compressed hands. immediately. If the victim is breath- in Containers,” CGA G-6, “Carbon ing, give supplemental oxygen. Dioxide,” and CGA G-6.3, “Carbon Emergency response Dioxide Cylinder Filling and Handling If carbon dioxide is present, its level For skin contact with liquid or Procedures.” Cylinders should always must be monitored by a carbon di- carbon dioxide, place the affected area be stored in assigned locations. specific detector, rather than in a warm water bath that has a tem- relying on oxygen . Carbon perature not in excess of 105°F (40°C). Personnel equipment dioxide presents a unique hazard, Do not rub the area. Never use dry Personnel must be thoroughly since a dangerous concentration of heat. For any cold contact burn, seek familiar with properties and safety carbon dioxide may exist even when medical attention immediately. considerations before being allowed there is apparently adequate oxygen to handle carbon dioxide and its as- to support life. Fighting fires sociated equipment. Safety , Carbon dioxide is nonflammable and Rescue personnel must wear a safety shoes, and leather work gloves is an extinguishing agent for Class self-contained breathing apparatus are recommended when handling B & C fires. (SCBA) or supplied air respirator in cylinders. oxygen-deficient atmospheres or where the carbon dioxide concentra- tion exceeds 3%.

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