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Damage by Low Temperature Releases

Skin contact with liquid hydrogen or cold hydrogen gas may cause severe cold burns, comparable with those caused by boiling water. Unprotected skin may freeze onto surfaces cooled by the liquid, causing severe damage on removal. Prolonged skin exposure to cold hydrogen may result in frostbite. A symptom is local pain which usually gives warning of freezing but sometimes no pain is felt or it is short-lived. Frozen tissues are painless and appear waxy, with a pale whitish or yellowish colour. Thawing of the frozen tissue can cause intense pain. Shock may also occur. The eyes are particularly susceptible – even small splashes of liquid hydrogen, or short exposures to cold vapor or gas, may cause instant freezing of eye tissues and permanent damage.

Transient exposure to very cold gas produces discomfort in breathing and can provoke an attack of asthma in susceptible people. Prolonged inhalation of cold vapor or gas may cause serious lung damage. Prolonged exposure of the entire body to cold can result in hypothermia.

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Page last modified on November 20, 2008, at 10:26 AM