Zinc Chloride is an inorganic chemical with the chemical formula ZnCl2. Zinc Chloride has a nice crystalline form, which is white or colorless, and highly soluble in water. It is a deliquescent and even hygroscopic salt. Zinc Chloride has many applications which include chemical synthesis, metallurgical fluxes, and textile processing. It is also applied in the manufacture of disinfectants, smoke bombs, fire-proofing agents, and soldering fluxes. Simonkolleite,  Zn5(OH)8Cl2•H2O, a very rare mineral, is the only mineral known to have this chemical composition.

Zinc Chloride is a binary salt. It's soluble in water at 432g/100g. It's also soluble in ethanol, acetone, and glycerol. Molten zinc chloride is very viscous and has a low electrical conducting ability.

Zinc Chloride is a toxic chemical and has an adverse effect when the human body comes in contact with it or when it is ingested. In this article, we discuss the hazardous effect of zinc chloride and some of the safety measures you can apply for protection.

Ingestion Of Zinc Chloride:

Zinc Chloride is a highly corrosive chemical and ingesting just 10 ml of a solution containing only 35% of Zinc chloride can lead to gastric burns, oropharyngeal, pharyngeal edema, epigastric tenderness, maleane, and haematemesis. In severe cases, it can lead to CNS depression and respiratory insufficiency. Pancreatic Insufficiency and gastrointestinal stricture can also complicate the recovery process.

Respiratory Protection

Zinc Chloride doesn't harm the respiratory organs when used under normal conditions, so respiratory protection isn't needed. However, respiratory protection should be used when a high concentration of zinc chloride is in use or is present. Respiratory protective devices should be employed when mist or aerosol is formed. It's also advisable that respiratory protection is put on in case of a spill.

Eye Contact With Zinc Chloride

Eye contact with zinc chloride can be hazardous. It causes severe irritation, redness, and burns. In severe cases, it can lead to eye damage. Any eye tissue exposed during the period of contact is liable to get damaged.

In case of contact with zinc chloride, ensure the affected eye is washed with water. If it's just one eye that got contaminated, try and maintain the contamination to just one eye.

Eye Protection

When handling zinc chloride you must heed the safety measures. To protect your eyes, ensure you put on safety glasses with goggles or side shields.

Skin Contact With Zinc Chloride

Zinc chloride harms the skin due to its toxicity and corrosiveness. It causes Skin burns and damage. The level of exposure to zinc chloride would determine how severe the effect it's going to have on you.

Zinc Chloride is also likely to cause pain, blisters, and redness of the skin

After exposure ensure the affected area is rinsed with a large quantity of water.

Skin Protection

Protective clothing has to be on to prevent skin contact with zinc chloride. The glove should be made of material that is resistant and impermeable to the chemical being used or handled. Your protective clothing should be selected considering the rate of diffusion, times of penetration, and degradation of the chemical.

Harm To The Environment

Zinc Chloride is a toxic chemical. It shouldn't be released into the environment. It has an adverse and long-lasting toxic effect on aquatic animals. Not only does it affect aquatic bodies, but it also harms the environment and humans. It leads to severe burns and damage to the skin and eyes.

Zinc Chloride shouldn't be released into the environment. Zinc Chloride decomposes when heated, which produces toxic zinc oxide and hydrogen chloride fumes. It also reacts strongly with strong bases and strong oxidants which might lead to explosion and fire hazards.

Environmental Measures

To avoid Zinc chloride from causing havoc on the environment. Zinc chloride mustn't be allowed near sewers, drains, or waterways. Any contaminated soil should also be collected for characterization.

Dust deposits of zinc chloride shouldn't be allowed to accumulate, as they might become an explosive mixture if released into the atmosphere. Spilled materials should also be properly contained using an inert absorbent or diking. Zinc Chloride should only be used in a well-ventilated place.

Harm To Overall Health

Zinc Chloride is known to cause several ailments which are harmful to overall human health. Zinc Chloride has been known to cause burns, ulceration, weight loss, fatigue, and anorexia. It can also cause sore throat, transient cough, chest pain, and hoarseness.

Exposure to a high concentration of zinc chloride can also cause fever, pneumothorax, hyperglycemia, and increased alkaline phosphatase. Inhaling zinc chloride in high quantities can lead to lung problem and pulmonary fibrosis. Sometimes, exposure to Zinc chloride can lead to death.

Safety Health Measures

The usual measures to ensure safety should be adhered to whenever the chemical is in use or being handled. The following are measured that should be followed:

  • Zinc Chloride should be kept away from beverages, food, and sources of feed.
  • All types of contaminated and soiled items of clothing should be removed immediately.
  • You should wash your hands before the start of the break and immediately after the close of work.
  • Avoid inhaling aerosols, vapor, mist, dust, fumes, or gasses of Zinc Chloride.
  • Avoid Zinc Chloride from coming in contact with your skin and eyes.
  • Ensure you put on protective items of clothing and gear whenever handling the chemical.
  • If inhaled, the exposure should be moved to fresh air. All clothing should be removed and such a person should be placed in a comfortable position.
  • In case of skin contact, the affected area should be washed with water and soap. The skin should be rinsed gently for about 20 minutes.
  • In case of eye contact, the unexposed eye should be protected. The exposed eye should be flushed or rinsed with water gently for 15-20 minutes.

Medical attention should be sought if any symptoms of contamination persist in any case.