While your coworkers can’t be bothered to pour you a cup of coffee when they’re standing next to the office coffee pot, Martin Davis’ coworkers pulled him out of a vat of acid. A VAT OF FUCKING ACID.
You might be asking yourself, “How in hell did Davis get in a vat of acid?!” Simple enough! Working on a construction project, he fell through a roof and dropped 40 FEET INTO A VAT OF FUCKING ACID.
(I think we can all agree the use of all caps and swear words is totally necessary.)
It really shouldn’t matter which acid or how concentrated it was. But because many of us will attempt to quantify how awesome Davis’ coworkers really are in comparison to ours…
The vat was full of reportedly full of 40% – 70% nitric acid (HNO3; molar mass = 63.01 g/mol; density 1.42 g/mL). If we assume that’s 40% – 70% by weight, that’s a molarity range of approximately 9.01 M – 15.8 M.
Perhaps these numbers don’t mean a damn thing to you. Let’s take a peak at the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for 70% nitric acid.
Target Organs: No data found.
Potential Health Effects
Eye: Causes severe eye burns. May cause irreversible eye injury. May cause chemical conjunctivitis and corneal damage.
Skin: Causes skin burns. May cause deep, penetrating ulcers of the skin. May cause skin rash (in milder cases), and cold and clammy skin with cyanosis or pale color.
Ingestion: May cause severe and permanent damage to the digestive tract. Causes gastrointestinal tract burns. May cause perforation of the digestive tract. May cause systemic effects.
Inhalation: Effects may be delayed. Causes chemical burns to the respiratory tract. Inhalation may be fatal as a result of spasm, inflammation, edema of the larynx and bronchi, chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema. Aspiration may lead to pulmonary edema. May cause systemic effects. May cause acute pulmonary edema, asphyxia, chemical pneumonitis, and upper airway obstruction caused by edema.
Chronic: Repeated inhalation may cause chronic bronchitis. Repeated exposure may cause erosion of teeth. Effects may be delayed.
Eyes: Get medical aid immediately. Do NOT allow victim to rub or keep eyes closed. Extensive irrigation with water is required (at least 30 minutes).
Skin: Get medical aid immediately. Immediately flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Wash clothing before reuse. Destroy contaminated shoes.
Ingestion: Do NOT induce vomiting. If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical aid immediately.
Inhalation: Get medical aid immediately. Remove from exposure to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Do NOT use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration using oxygen and a suitable mechanical device such as a bag and a mask.
Notes to Physician: Treat symptomatically and supportively.
You wouldn’t want to fall 40 feet into a vat of nitric acid. Remember that time you were pushed in the pool? Caught off guard, perhaps you floundered in the water for a few seconds – taking in a few mouths fulls and awkwardly splashing about until your swimming know-how took over. Now image all of that happening after a 40 foot drop and in a VAT OF FUCKING ACID. That shit is fucking scary!
And you know what’s also fucking scary? Seeing that happen to somebody else when you know all that MSDS stuff about about nitric acid. Know what’s awesome? Acting quickly, decisively, and selflessly to try to save that somebody else.
Hat’s off to you, Martin Davis’ coworkers! You are the best coworkers ever.
_______________@DrRubidium Editor-in-commandant j Image from http://bit.ly/KiD6vO