ammonium nitrate nearly 3,000 tons were removed from the ship in the coastal capital Beirut last 6 years and then be stored in a warehouse, and explosions shook the capital, Port of Lebanon on Tuesday. But what is ammonium nitrate and why can it be harmful?
What is ammonium nitrate? Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline material that is produced in large quantities in industry. Its largest use is as a source of nitrogen for fertilizers, but it is also used to make explosives for mining. Ammonium nitrate is produced worldwide and is also cheap. But keeping it can be problematic and has been a serious industrial accident in the past.
How dangerous is ammonium nitrate? Ammonium nitrate alone is safe to administer. However, if you have a large amount of material around for a long time, it will start to break down. Over time, it will absorb less moisture and eventually turn into a large rock. This makes it even more dangerous because if there is a fire, the chemical reaction will be stronger.
How dangerous is the gas it generates? When ammonium nitrate explodes, it can emit toxic gases including nitrogen oxides and ammonia. Orange smoke is caused by nitrogen dioxide, which is often associated with air pollution.
Has it ever been made into a bomb? With such powerful explosions, ammonium nitrate is used by armies around the world as an explosive device. It has also been used in a number of terrorist activities, including the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing. Terrorist Timothy McVeigh, for example, used two tons of ammonium nitrate to make a bomb that destroyed a federal building and killed 168 people.