We Owe it to Them to Keep Them Safe
Every year, thousands of men and women help protect our country by working to suppress and control wildfires. Firefighters at the point of attack, pilots who drop fire retardant and the people who transport and deliver fire retardants to remote locations.
Together, these people keep us safe. Shouldn’t we do the same for them?
Direct Exposure to Magnesium Chloride
Companies who produce chemicals are required to create something called a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to inform customers of the potential human contact hazards associated with the product. The information revealed on the magnesium chloride-based fire retardant SDS should give us cause for concern.
The SDS lists skin irritation and eye irritation as the result of human contact – which can occur at any point in time from the moment retardant is loaded on a truck to when it is delivered to a plane and then dropped over active firefighters on the ground. First aid recommendations for contact with eyes include: “If in eyes: Immediately wash eyes with water for several minutes, remove contacts if wearing, and then continue to rinse with water for at least fifteen minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical attention without delay.” It also recommends a person remove clothing and wash themselves down.
Cancer and hydrogen chloride
The same SDS states that these products contain “components suspected of causing cancer.” It also states that when exposed to heat or combustion, the product may generate hydrogen chloride. It is well known that exposure to hydrogen chloride can result in corrosive damage to the eyes, skin and respiratory tissues, as well as pulmonary edema, in some cases.”