DRY ICE SAFETY AND STORAGE
Dry ice should always be handled with care and used in accordance to the material safety data sheet recommendations. One must always take proper safety precautions when handling, storing or transporting dry ice and always keep it out of reach of children.
Dry ice should always be stored and used within areas with adequate ventilation. Dry ice sublimates into carbon dioxide gas, which can pose a suffocation hazard in confined areas.
- Use only with equipment and storage containers suitable for dry ice. Never store dry ice in a container with an airtight seal because it may burst.
- Dry ice is extremely cold and can cause frostbite. Always wear proper protective clothing and avoid contact with exposed flesh. In case of prolonged contact with skin, seek medical treatment immediately.
- Dry ice is harmful if eaten or swallowed. If ingested, seek medical treatment immediately.
Transporting in Vehicle
Avoid transporting dry ice in the cab of a truck or the passenger compartment of a car. If this is not possible, small quantities of dry ice should be in an insulated container (i.e. a cooler) and adequate outside ventilation shall be maintained. Travel with open windows to ensure constant and adequate ventilation to prevent excessive exposure to carbon dioxide vapors for the occupants. Dry ice in a closed passenger vehicle can result in the accumulation of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide vapor; therefore, dry ice should not be left in a closed, parked passenger vehicle. Dry ice can be safely transported in closed cargo areas in trucks without special ventilation provided that any passengers are restricted to the truck cabs.
Disposal of Unused Dry Ice
Unused dry ice should be disposed of properly. Improper disposal can pose several special safety and environmental hazards, such as:
- potential injuries due to misuse, especially by children;
- detrimental effects to the environment or wildlife;
- forced cleanup by untrained individuals;
- damage to property from the extreme cold temperature; and
- slippery surfaces resulting from the cold temperature.
The preferred method for disposal is to allow the dry ice to sublime or evaporate to the atmosphere in a well-ventilated area where no buildup of carbon dioxide vapor can occur. Such areas should be secured to ensure controlled access by authorized/trained personnel only and not in areas accessible to the general public.
Do not dispose of dry ice:
- in sewers, sinks, or toilets;
- in bodies of water;
- in garbage receptacles;
- on ground that is located above underground utilities; or
- in unprotected boxes.