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Auto Air bag DisposalSCIENCE MEDICINE Scope
January 16, 1994
A University of Arizona professor says improper disposal of unused automobile air bags could pose a health risk. In a scrap yard, the chemicals that inflate air bags may combine with ground water to create a lethal and potent acid, said Eric A. Betterton, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences. ”It is not a big problem now, but eventually it could be,” he s adidas predator aid. Ordered in all new cars by 1998, air bags are expected to save 2,000 lives a year. Air bags are inflated by sodium azides, which convert to nitrogen and expand when the car’s sensors detect a collision. Inflation releases a harmless gas. Danger may arise when vehicles are junked wi adidas predator th unused air ba adidas predator gs. If the azides spill out of their canister and mix with wate adidas predator r, the result would be hydrazoic acid, Betterton said. Half a teaspoon of that acid can kill someone, he said. Donald Reed of the Automotive Occupant Restraint Council in Washington, which gives technical advice to seat belt and air bag manufacturers, said the council is working on ways to ensure the bags are detonated before the cars are scrapped.