Massive “Laughing Gas” Cloud Released into Atmosphere

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image via wikipedia

An accident at Albion Chemicals Ltd. in Ireland, caused a massive cloud of ‘laughing gas’ to be released into the atmosphere.

Nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’ as it is commonly known, is used in various fields, especially in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effect. In racing it is used as an oxidizer to increase speed. The following use however, was not anticipated.

The employers, who had accidentally poured nitric acid into a contaminated container, saw a whiff of nitrous oxide appear after the substances reacted. The accident did not injure any workers (and it probably didn’t make them giggle either).

The first reports stated that the fumes may have been toxic: firefighters and police men jumped in their cars and rushed to the scene. Protected by their equipment including gas masks, firefighters sprayed the gas cloud with water mist and rushed on to halt any leaks in the sewage.

A few hours later, officials revealed that nobody was injured and despite the large gas cloud, it appeared that the accident did not cause any environmental damage.

Sources 1, 2, 3, 4

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