From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ammoni compounds and its uses
Mains level : Not Much
Two persons died and several took ill in a major ammonia gas leakage at a fertilizers unit at Prayagraj.
Try this PYQ:
Q. With reference to chemical fertilizers in India, consider the following statements:
- At present, the retail price of chemical fertilizers is market-driven and not administered by the Government.
- Ammonia, which is an input of urea, is produced from natural gas.
- Sulphur, which is a raw material for phosphoric acid fertilizer, is a by-product of all oil refineries.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1,2 and 3
- Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world.
- More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.
- A tri-hydroid of nitrogen (NH3), ammonia is a building block for ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that is used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Why is it harmful?
- According to experts in Chemistry, ammonia is stored for industrial use in liquid form under high pressure or in gaseous form at low temperature.
- In such cases, the cause of death is always suffocation as in the case of Prayagraj incident, the victims must have been very close to the point of a gas leak.
Effects on the human body
- Ammonia, even in moderate concentration, can cause irritation to eyes, skin, nose and throat.
- It interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, and respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide.
- It is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.
- As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.
Secretion in humans
- Ammonia, which is highly soluble in water, is found in soil, air, and water; it is naturally present in the body.
- It is secreted by the kidneys to neutralize excess acid.
- However, it is highly diluted when in the environment and does not affect the human body to a noticeable level.