In response to the demand from the firefighting community, Morphix Technologies, an innovator in the science of detection devices for dangerous chemicals, has released its newest chemical detection cassette for hydrogen cyanide. The new Cyanide (AC/CK) cassette detects both hydrogen cyanide and cyanogen chloride, the company says.
Increasingly, firefighters are experiencing exposure to hydrogen cyanide in fire smoke due to the combustion of products such as plastics, polymers, foam, melamine, polyacrylonitriles, synthetic rubber and common materials such as silk, wool and cotton. Hydrogen cyanide is 35 times more toxic than the more common carbon monoxide gases. It enters the body through absorption, inhalation or ingestion targeting the heart and brain. Firefighters feel dizzy, disoriented, complain of headaches or achiness. These symptoms may occur immediately or days after the fire scene.
Although hydrogen cyanide is burned away during combustion, as long as the objects heated within the fire remain at an elevated temperature, they will continue to produce HCN. A fire incident scene can still produce enough HCN to affect arson investigators or the general population in close proximity. Because HCN does not have a discernible odor, investigators, fire responders and civilians within the area may not be aware of the danger still present after the fire has been resolved.
The new Cyanide (AC/AK) cassette, developed by Morphix Technologies, is part of an easy-to-use, low-cost Chameleon Detection Kit that can be used alone or in addition to chemical protective suits and masks to identify dangerous levels of hydrogen cyanide during or after a fire. The Cyanide sensor changes color when the toxic gas is present and requires no power source or calibration. Unlike current colorimetric detection systems, the Chameleon is designed to military standards for use in a wide variety of operating environments including desert heat, artic cold, tropical conditions and immersion in salt or fresh water.