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topic 2330

Heating Zinc Ammonia Chloride (ZAC)


I would like information concerning the hazards of heating Zinc Ammonia Chloride (ZAC) to 70 degrees C. Is there any fuming or gases given off and if so is it hazardous to operators working around the area.

Bryce Rae


A former governor of my State here in the U.S. once replied to a similar question this way (it has been frequently quoted, and I hope I am not misquoting): " 'Toxic' is a matter of statute, not opinion".

So I would urge people to be very cautious about saying that something is NOT hazardous--they may be flouting the law. And as for saying that something IS hazardous, why bother? These days everything is burdened with labels which, if we believed them, would convince us that handling a nickel is no less hazardous than handling plutonium :-)

I used to volunteer to teach a safety course for electroplaters at our local plating school, but found that it was gradually becoming almost impossible to contribute anything of real value to the students on this subject. I could not, for example, emphasize that concentrated hydrofluoric acid is REALLY dangerous without pooh-poohing the dangers of 5 percent sulfuric acid.

Sure, I urged them to wear protective gear, and wash themselves off if they got exposed anyway. But I found that I could not really effectively recommend extra precautions for the HF.

So I would suggest that you send a registered letter of inquiry to your local regulatory authority. They probably won't answer, but at least you will have tried.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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