Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hazmat Hounds

Now this is the sort of thing that is just tooo strange to make up: What do you do with dog vomit after Fido eats the rat poison you stupidly left lying around? Question from health official: We have had two cases in the state recently where a dog has eaten zinc phosphide rat poison. The dog is rushed to the vet, they make it vomit and are overcome by the phosphine. We are going to send out an advisory suggesting that this procedure be performed outside of the facility, think behind the building, so we can get adequate ventilation. The issue then becomes what to do with the dog barf? Do we have them direct the dog to a plastic garbage bag and seal it up? Since we have had two cases of this there must have been others somewhere in the US, do you know of anyone who has an experience with it? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Response from EPA: Inducing vomiting is the right treatment. But acid or water causes decomposition and release of phosphine gas. Recommendation is to flood away barf with copious water, while wearing respirator. (Look up respirator in NIOSH) They recommend disposal in a DRY soil pit, but you have to get it there. Level B, or at least supplied air, is my best guess. What about Baking Soda, the all-purpose solution? At least it's not an acid. The following is from Google search on decontaminating sodium phosphide: SYNOPSIS A rodenticide of high mammalian toxicity which in the presence of dilute acid will decompose to liberate phosphine. It is not cumulative in body tissues. SELECTED PROPERTIES Physical characteristics: A grey powder of high melting point which sublimes when heated in the absence of oxygen. Solubility: Practically insoluble in water and ethanol. Soluble in benzene and carbon disulfide. Stability: Stable when dry but decomposes slowly in moist air. It reacts violently with acids with decomposition to the spontaneously inflammable phosphine gas. Vapour pressure: Very low. Phosphine odour detectable at 1.5-3.0 ml/m3 of air, depending on its purity.

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