The human body depends on the intake and release of certain gases to function properly. Danger presents itself when oxygen is displaced by other gases. Gases that are known to cause these and other health risks are classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as Hazardous Waste Class 2 Compressed Gases.
Division 2.1 (Flammable Gas): These dangerous materials are marked with a red placard featuring a flame icon. Any gas found to be ignitable when comprising 13% or less of a room’s gaseous volume is listed under this sub-category. The danger of these gases comes from the prevalence of igniters found in the workplace. Even small electric sparks or strong friction can be enough to produce a powerful explosion. As a result, storage and transfer of flammable gas requires great care. Commonly used gases in this category include ethylene, cyclopropane, and petroleum.
Division 2.2 (Non-Flammable; Non-Poisonous): Gases that are neither fire hazards, nor toxic upon inhalation are divided to subcategory 2.2. These gases still pose a risk to human health, however, based on their natural behavior. Large volumes of asphyxiant gases, like helium and nitrogen, prevent human lungs from accessing oxygen. The worst-case-scenario result of exposure to Division 2.2 gases is death by suffocation.
Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas): Gases proven toxic to humans (or animals in lab testing) are designated as inhalation hazards. These substances require the highest level of care during transport and disposal due to their deadly properties. Industrial gases such as chlorine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen bromide, and gaseous ammonia are just a few of the many poisonous substances that fall into this subcategory. Make sure your company enlists professional help when it’s necessary to dispose of Division 2.3 gases.
It goes without saying that handling Hazardous Waste Class 2: Compressed Gases can be extrememly dangerous. Make sure you know what you are doing or make sure you have a licensed hazardous waste disposal company to help you determine the correct course of action.