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The Dangers Of Antifreeze And Their Solutions

1017 words - 4 pages


There are hazards in and around every automotive shop across the world. Among these hazards are the chemicals used in or on the vehicles themselves. With proper training and information, the handler of these chemicals will be able to protect him/herself from experiencing the dangerous potential of these chemicals. Along with a lot of overseen hazardous chemicals is a chemical found in every liquid cooled engine, antifreeze.

Over the years our engines inside of our automobiles have grown bigger and more complex then they have been in the past. The older technique of the air cooled system did not protect the engine from extreme temperatures, there for we have created the liquid cooling system. The problem we faced with this, is water will only protect the engine from mild temperatures before it will either boil or freeze. The answer to this problem is a chemical created by man from a natural gas, that when mixed fifty/fifty with water, will extend the temperatures before it freezes or boils. This chemical is antifreeze (ethylene glycol) which brings the boiling/freezing point range to 265 degrees Fahrenheit to negative 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

Due to the use of antifreeze in most every vehicle either diesel, gasoline, hybrid, or alternative fueled vehicles it will be handled frequently by technicians everywhere. The untrained or uninformed tech may not know the hazards that come with this chemical and what can be done to protect themselves and others. Antifreeze has many harmful effects that come with the exposure to it.

Due to the nature of the use of this chemical, improper contact could result in being burned. As a vehicle runs the temperature of the antifreeze will increase and pressure will build within the cooling system. When it is suddenly let out of the system, be it taking the cap off the radiator, the antifreeze will become an uncontrollable release of the hot vapors and liquids which could result in serious burn through out the body. One way to handle this, so that to avoid such a tragedy is to let the vehicle cool before opening the cooling system. The use of personal protection equipment like a rubber apron, gloves, and a face shield will control getting the hot fluid on your body.

Another less severe effect of contact with antifreeze is a mild skin and eye irritation. The best way to resolve this problem is to avoid all contact with the skin. Proper handling of antifreeze will help cut back the risk of this exposure tremendously. The simple use of a funnel will prevent spilling the chemical while adding it to a vehicle. The use of latex or rubber gloves will stop the possibility of it contact the skin on your hands. Goggles will stop any reaching your eyes. If needed in a certain procedure were your body could be in contact, the use of a rubber apron and a face shield will stop it as well.

The most serious downfall of antifreeze is if it is ingested. When ingested the antifreeze turns into...

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