The toxicology of zinc chloride smoke producing bombs and screens.

Title The toxicology of zinc chloride smoke producing bombs and screens.
Authors A.El Idrissi; L. van Berkel; N.E. Bonekamp; D.J.Z. Dalemans; M.A.G. van der Heyden
Journal Clin Toxicol (Phila)
DOI 10.1080/15563650.2016.1271125

CONTEXT: Zinc chloride (ZnCl2)-based smoke bombs and screens are in use since the Second World War (1939-1945). Many case descriptions on ZnCl2 smoke inhalation incidents appeared since 1945.

OBJECTIVE: We provide a comprehensive overview of the clinical symptoms and underlying pathophysiology due to exposure to fumes from ZnCl2 smoke producing bombs. In addition, we give a historical overview of treatment regimens and their outcomes.

METHODOLOGY: We performed a literature search on Medline, Scopus and Google Scholar databases using combinations of the following search terms "smoke bomb", "smoke screen", "ZnCl2", "intoxication", "poisoning", "case report", "HE smoke", "hexachloroethane smoke", "smoke inhalation" and "white smoke". We retrieved additional reports based on the primary hits. We collected 30 case reports from the last seven decades encompassing 376 patients, 23 of whom died. Of all the patient descriptions, 31 were of sufficient detail for prudent analysis.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Intoxication with clinical signs mainly took place in war situations and in military and fire emergency training sessions in enclosed spaces. Symptoms follow a biphasic course mainly characterised by dyspnoea, coughing and lacrimation, related to irritation of the airways in the first six hours, followed by reappearance of early signs complemented with inflammation related signs and tachycardia from 24?h onwards. Acute respiratory stress syndrome developed in severely affected individuals. Chest radiographs did not always correspond with clinical symptoms. Common therapy comprises corticosteroids, antibiotics and supplemental oxygen or positive pressure ventilation in 64% of the cases. Of the 31 patients included, eight died, three had permanent lung damage and 15 showed complete recovery, whereas in five patients outcome was not reported. Early signs likely relate to caustic reactions in the airway lining, whereas inhaled ZnCl2 particles may trigger an inflammatory response and associated delayed fibrotic lung damage. Smoke bomb poisoning is a potentially lethal condition that can occur in large cohorts of victims simultaneously.

Citation A.El Idrissi; L. van Berkel; N.E. Bonekamp; D.J.Z. Dalemans; M.A.G. van der Heyden.The toxicology of zinc chloride smoke producing bombs and screens.. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2017;55(3):167174. doi:10.1080/15563650.2016.1271125

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Chlorine is a Block P, Group 17, Period 3 element. Its electron configuration is [Ne]3s23p5. The chlorine atom has a covalent radius of 102±4 pm and its Van der Waals radius is 175 pm. Chlorine ModelIn its elemental form, chlorine is a yellow-green gas. Chlorine is the second lightest halogen after fluorine. It has the third highest electronegativity and the highest electron affinity of all elements, making it a strong oxidizing agent. It is rarely found by itself in nature. Chlorine was discovered and first isolated by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1774. It was first recognized as an element by Humphry Davy in 1808.


See more Zinc products. Zinc (atomic symbol: Zn, atomic number: 30) is a Block D, Group 12, Period 4 element with an atomic weight of 65.38. The number of electrons in each of zinc's shells is 2, 8, 18, 2, and its electron configuration is [Ar] 3d10 4s2. Zinc Bohr ModelThe zinc atom has a radius of 134 pm and a Van der Waals radius of 210 pm. Zinc was discovered by Indian metallurgists prior to 1000 BC and first recognized as a unique element by Rasaratna Samuccaya in 800. Zinc was first isolated by Andreas Marggraf in 1746. In its elemental form, zinc has a silver-gray appearance. It is brittle at ordinary temperatures but malleable at 100 °C to 150 °C.Elemental Zinc It is a fair conductor of electricity, and burns in air at high red producing white clouds of the oxide. Zinc is mined from sulfidic ore deposits. It is the 24th most abundant element in the earth's crust and the fourth most common metal in use (after iron, aluminum, and copper). The name zinc originates from the German word "zin," meaning tin.

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