Dry Ice Safety
(Information provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration website*)
What is Dry Ice?
Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Unlike most solids, it does not melt into a liquid, but instead changes directly into a gas called carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide building up around you can cause suffocation.
The temperature of dry ice is around -109° F! It melts very quickly, so if you need dry ice for an experiment or project, buy it as close as possible to the time you need it.
Dry Ice Safety Rules:
- Never let kids use dry ice without adult supervision. It can cause serious injury.
- Do not store dry ice in an airtight container. Dry ice melts into a gas, which will build up and then burst the container until it bursts. The best place to store dry ice is in a Styrofoam chest with a loose fitting lid.
- Do not touch dry ice! You must use tongs, insulated (thick) gloves or an oven mitt. If it touches your skin, it can cause severe frostbite. If you think you have frostbite, get medical help immediately.
- Never eat or swallow dry ice! It is too cold for your body to handle. If you swallow dry ice, seek medical help immediately.
- Never lay down in, or place small children or pets in homemade clouds. The clouds are made of carbon dioxide gas and can cause suffocation.
- Never place dry ice in an unventilated room or car as too much carbon dioxide will build up and cause suffocation. If you are traveling with dry ice in the car, crack a window open. If you are in a small room, crack a window open.
- Wear safety goggles when working with dry ice.
- Do not place dry ice directly on countertops or tables as the extreme temperature can cause the surface to crack.
- If you start to pant or have difficulty catching your breath, leave the area immediately. This means you have taken in too much carbon dioxide gas.
- Do not store dry ice in your freezer. It will cause your freezer to become too cold and your freezer may shut off. However, if you lose power for an extended period of time, dry ice is the best way to keep things cold!
Disposing of Dry Ice
To dispose of dry ice, place in a well-ventilated container and take it outside to let it melt. Make sure you put it in a place where children and pets cannot get to it.