The basic chemical properties of a hazardous material determine the manner in which victims/patients are exposed, the degree of morbidity and mortality associated with a given hazmat event, the type of decontamination necessary, and the types of personal protective equipment required in the response. Here we discuss the types of contamination, categories of hazardous materials, the physical states of matter, the ability of a material to be aerosolized, the water solubility of hazardous material, and the acid/base characteristics of hazardous materials. Through application of these basic chemical properties of hazardous materials, providers will be better able to assess the hazmat scene and associated health risks, and then respond appropriately.
- Physical state
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