5 Dry Ice Safety Precautions
Dry ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide. Most frozen solids return to a liquid form when they are heated. Frozen carbon dioxide does not become a liquid. It transforms into a gas. This transformation process is referred to a sublimation. Dry ice sits a temperature level of minus 109 degrees Farhenheit. This material melts into a gas quickly. It should be purchased as close to the usage time as possible.
1 - Handling Dry Ice
First and foremost, never leave dry ice unattended. It should always be kept out of the reach of children. Dry ice can cause serious injury if it is not handled properly and safely. Always wear protective eye wear and specialized work gloves when you are working with this dangerous material. Never let the dry ice come into contact with your bare skin. Never taste, eat or swallow dry ice. This will cause serious injury. If you or someone near you has done so, call 911 immediately. Never lay in the dry ice clouds. These clouds are made from carbon dioxide.
2 - Transporting Dry Ice
Do not put dry ice in any space that is not well ventilated, whether that is a room or a vehicle. When transporting dry ice in a vehicle, open a window in order to ventilate the space and circulate the air to prevent the carbon dioxide gas from building up.
3 - Storing Dry Ice
Never put dry ice in your freezer. The temperature of the material will cause your appliance to shut down. Never put dry in a container that is airtight. The material will transform directly into a gas. The gas buildup could cause the container to burst. Always store dry ice in a well ventilated container. The best storage unit for dry ice is a styrofoam cooler with a loosely placed lid. There are also some storage units available that are specifically designed for storing dry ice. Never place dry ice on a counter top. The temperature of the material will crack the counter. Never store dry ice in a space that is not well ventilated. The carbon dioxide gas will replace the oxygen in the space and could cause suffocation.
4 - Disposing of Dry Ice
Allow any remaining dry ice to sublimate completely in a well ventilated space. Never put it into the garbage or down the sink drain. Never put dry ice down the toilet.
5 - Treating Dry Ice Injuries
If you begin to lose your breath or pant around dry ice, leave the space immediately. Panting, headaches and blue lips and fingernails are signs of overexposure to carbon dioxide. If necessary, call 911. Treat any dry ice burns just like typical heat burns. Apply an ointment designed specifically for burns to the area. This type of medication will contain an antibiotic and will protect your skin from developing an infection. If necessary, carefully apply a bandage to the burned area. If your skin blisters and comes off, call your doctor.