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Dry Ice: A Deadly Party Favour

Dry ice can be the perfect addition to a Halloween party, creating an eerie fog across a spooky Halloween display. But aside from being a fun party trick it also serves many uses for various industries of work throughout the rest of the year.

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. When handling dry ice, you want to be sure to take the necessary precautions, like wearing a pair of heavy gloves. Dry ice “has a surface temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C). The super-cold surface temperature can easily damage your skin if you touch it directly” Source. Aside from being dangerous when in contact with skin, dry ice can also cause asphyxiation because it turns into carbon dioxide gas when it melts, a process called sublimation.

  • “A 59-year-old man was found in cardiac arrest shortly after entering a recently repaired walk-in freezer that contained dry ice… This case illustrates the lethal consequences of improper storage of dry ice and the need to consider toxic environmental exposure as a cause of sudden cardiac arrest.” Source
  • “In 2004, the CDC reported a case of a man who passed out while driving with several bags of dry ice in his car, which he bought to keep food cool in case of a power outage after Hurricane Ivan. The man's wife found him unconscious in the car, but he woke up when she opened the door.” Source
  • “In a ‘horrific accident,’ a woman in Washington died from exposure to dry ice fumes, according to news reports. The 77-year-old woman was found unresponsive in a car with several containers of dry ice on July 27 [2018]. The car belonged to the woman's son, an ice cream salesman, who kept four coolers of dry ice in the back of the vehicle. The man's wife had borrowed the car to give the woman, her mother-in-law, a ride home.” Source

These cases are rare in comparison to other hazardous materials events, but it is important to follow the proper guidelines when handling dry ice, whether for work or play.

Below we outline some of the various uses for this fascinating hazardous material.

WORK USES:

  • Accelerated plant growth
  • Containment tank repair / removal
  • Carbonating Liquids
  • De-flashing molded plastics and rubber
  • Fresh meat processing
  • Plumbing
  • Preserve seeds and grains
  • Special Effects / FX & Theatrics