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Every job has their downsides. Working in retail means you need to handle the occasional awful customer, working in education means you have to survive long hours for very minimal pay, and some professions even have you interact with chemicals capable of ending your life....Wait, what?


Reddit user, u/Shinespark7, wanted to hear the the closest of close calls when they asked:

What's the most toxic substance you've come in contact with?

Burning Grass

In my home town we have a mill yard for the pulp and paper mill that shut down a while back. When I was in high school there was a derailment of a car with really high concentration peroxide. I'm not sure of the percentage, but it was causing grass and other plants to spontaneously combust. I was probably about 30 ft from it passing in a school bus.

For everyone asking, Fort Frances is the place. And here's an article https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/transportation/2452811-chemical-spill-reported-after-train-derailment-fort-frances%3famp

Edibleplague

Concentrated H2O2 is no joke, that stuff will oxidize just about anything.

rocketparrotlet

Gently Wafting Radiation

Giphy

I'm originally from Belarus and while I didn't come into direct contact, Chernobyl radiation was gently breezing on my family daily.

Nevrakians

Material Intended To End Lives

As a vet intern, I frequently handle Euthasol in small doses for companion animals or very large doses for horses. I'm warned to keep gloves tight & wash my hands after to prevent residue getting on me or my own animals.

IDK if its overkill but since its the drug we use solely to end lives, ya kinda dont want to be complacent around 100 ccs of it when 12 will likely kill someone my size

It works similar to anesthesia I believe. Your cells use Na/K gates to transmit nerve signals and preform actions. It sits at a certain level and a signal depolarizes it to threshold, causing those gates to do their thing. IIRC, both Euthasol and anesthesia push your cells farther down so usual signals cannot reach threshold and will not pass on signals the brain or limbs send.

Or in the case of euthanasia, it prevents the heart from beating on its own as well as knock them out. Just a few mL of this bright pink fluid will mess you up and it aint pepto bismol.

TheDragonLake

Takes A Lot To Get Our Charge

Airborne cadmium dust in a battery manufacturing plant.

DarthContinent

why is that bad

ThatDaveyGuy

Cadnium metal, transition earth metal on periodic table, pulls oxygen out and makes a cadnium oxide, proper protection is a PD,PP SCBA, is also a carcinogen, all around nasty sh-t

gwtechno

You Move As We Move

I don't know what it was, but during a safety briefing for touring a chemical plant I was visiting the guides said, "Follow us. If we stop, you stop. If we walk, you walk. If we run, keep up."

Apparently they were chemicals capable of becoming airbourne if there was a breach and in large enough amounts could kill you from coming into contact with your skin.

Byizo

Living, Breathing Fear

hydrofluoric acid.

it's the only thing that really gave me a sensation of actual fear.

tickle_mittens

TL;DR for people who aren't familiar with hydroflouric acid.

It's not as corrosive as something like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid, meaninng it won't burn you as badly. However, it quickly leeches into your skin and your bloodstream, where it reacts with the calcium in your blood.

When your blood calcium drops to a large enough degree you can go into cardiac arrest.

To make matters worse, it also binds to the calcium in your bones and really f-ck up your calcium metabolism. From a medical point of view, it can be really hard to treat and in large enough quantities it's almost always fatal.

BinaryPeach

Oh, Also...

I am a pharmaceutical analytical chemist so I often work with pure drug substances. These include cancer/aids/hepatitis drugs that are highly potent and only require doses in the microgram range.

Oh also fentanyl.

penguinchem13

"The Green Cloud Of Death"

Concentrated chlorine-

AKA "the green cloud of death"

server_busy

Cleaned the bilge on my sailboat the other day with a bleach compound. Crappy ventilation in a tight space. Had to evacuate for fresh air. Couldn't breathe and I was gagging. Terrible idea. My ribs still hurt a few days later from all the coughing and my lungs still have a small bit of fluid in them.

m012892

Explosions EVERYWHERE

Giphy

I'm on a spill team at my work at a contract lab so any dangerous chemical spill I have to respond to with other team members. I think the worst I responded to was either sodium arsenite or potassium cyanide. We had to clear out the whole lab and suit up to clean it...

...The scariest I've seen in the chemistry division (I'm a QC microbiologist on the volunteer spill team) is phosphorus pentoxide. The nasty chemicals are usually used in the raw materials testing group or Mass spectrometry group.

Mrbubbles137

I don't know what most of those things are and I'm still scared

OpaBlyat

White phosphorus (phosphorus pentoxide)plus any moisture and you have a Michael Bay movie.

Mrbubbles137

We're Done. That's It.

When I worked as a gas station attendant, the other workers let a puddle of brown urine (indicating possible hepatitis) and vomit about a centimeter deep sit in the corner of the women's restroom for two weeks. By the time I got there it had mixed into a fecal-like sludge that was actively rotting. I'll let you guess what ELSE I found in that puddle (hint: it was sharp).

ogeronimogilgamesh

Jesus Christ that's it, it's over. You've won retail hell.

dustyspectacles

What's the most toxic material you've ever escaped from? Let us know all about it!

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