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  1. #1
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    Default TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    hey all

    1996 house,of course foreclosure

    it was 85 degrees so fired up ac on entry and could not get a temperture below 74 degrees out of registers after two hours,using laser temp meter-temp in house did not lower from initial 80 degrees,in fact went to 81 degrees,,also notice compressor running but furnace fan not,so got curious

    turned off ac and went to heat cycle, to see what was going on. furnace fired ok,,went to check my temp. at basement heat registers and noticed ,,no kidding toxic smoke coming out of two seperate room registers,,,,with my client and six month old baby in tow,i rushed them out of house and hit the emergency shut off,,wish i would have gottan a photo of that smoke, but what the ^%#$
    after my client left,i tried to duplicate the smoke and furnace would only short cycle on and off,after three times said screw this..i shut everything down,turned off emergency shut off switch and wrote on switch-NOT TO BE TURNED ON WITHOUT LICENCED HVAC TECHNICIAN ON SITE.

    my report had all kinds of safety tags and whistle written all over it

    so anybody ever seen smoke from the registers--nasty smoke that is

    thanks
    charlie

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    sorry about the register mispelled--fat fingers


  3. #3
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Mr fat fingers. L.O.L. Hey Charlie. I installed a new system in my home last year did all the work my self. got the unit from a buddy that works for a HVAC Company. He gets good deals from his boss. any way installed the news system and put the heat to it. and wam smoke out of the all the registers. So i called my buddy and he informed me that new units have oil on the burner pipes. it takes a bit of time to burn it all out.
    Thats the only info i have on smoke from a heater unit.

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    hey ron

    this baby was a 1996 lennox,so it was not new. i have never seen this before
    charlie


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Charlie, sounds like you froze up the coil on the a/c then when you switched to heat it had no air flow and would have run until the limit switch shut it down. Smoke could have been from unused furnace with dust, rust, etc. overheating.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    thanks jim
    interesting,i did shut the entire unit down for ten minutes before turning on heat,but what is the reason for no ac cold air

    i have asked the listing agent to contact me when hvac tech gets outthere as request from buyer,,but if that will happen who knows,,,don't mind the extra trip,it is five minutes from my house and the buyer is one of my biggest real estate agents ,house is for her son, the extra mile is always a good thing
    thanks for that info
    charlie


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT REGISTERS

    First it was toxic mold.

    Then it was toxic granite.

    Now it's toxic smoke??

    How on earth did you come up with it's "TOXIC SMOKE"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    jerry
    never said mold,granite

    but the smoke was choking and eye watering,and had a wicked smell,that is toxic to me,enough to clear out of house
    guess i should have stuck around to see how toxic and how long i could have stayed breathing
    what is your point
    don't understand,is there an answer here to what it could have been
    that is the question
    charlie


  9. #9
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    jerry
    never said mold,granite

    but the smoke was choking and eye watering,and had a wicked smell,that is toxic to me,enough to clear out of house
    guess i should have stuck around to see how toxic and how long i could have stayed breathing
    what is your point
    don't understand,is there an answer here to what it could have been
    that is the question
    charlie
    My other job is with the Fire Department here, I see similar conditions at the start of each heating season. Grease from cooking combined with dust get deposited in every little nook and cranny of the furnace and air handler. The first run of the furnace for the season burns off all the accumulated grease and dirt and spreads soot and an acrid smoke throughout the structure. The occupants usually believe that they have somehow started a fire will engulf the entire home. Usually by the time we get an engine company out everything has cleared up leaving only a smoke smell with nothing to be found amiss, even using Thermal Imaging cameras.

    Captain Alton Darty
    Osceola Fire Department
    Osceola, AR


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    but what is the reason for no ac cold air
    Low air flow due to dirty filters or low refrigerant charge (among many other things) can cause the indoor coil (evaporator) to ice over and totally shut off air flow. This could take several hours to thaw without the blower on.

    No air flow and the furnace will continue to fire until the limit switch shuts it down. By that time the dust, oil, etc. will have vaporized and spill out through every duct opening.

    If you are not getting cool air out of the ducts within the first 10 minutes, something is wrong. It may take a little longer to get stable readings, but 10 minutes and you should know if the unit is working or not.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    THANKS ALTON AND JIM
    can't wait to get back out there with hvac report
    will let you all know
    charlie


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    A new home buyer started a website about all of their house problems that included something similar.

    They even measured carbon monoxide coming out the registers on a heat pump system!

    The cellulose attic insulation got sucked into the return due to gaps in the attic and the electric strips in the air handler started smoldering the insulation.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    but the smoke was choking and eye watering,and had a wicked smell,that is toxic to me,enough to clear out of house
    guess i should have stuck around to see how toxic and how long i could have stayed breathing
    what is your point
    Toxic means lethal. The point may be: How did you determine the smoke to be toxic? What testing methods did you use to determine its toxicity? It is more a question about the proper use of terms. If you are putting in your report that the smoke was toxic, you should have some sort of reliable test you can refer to that helps you to prove it was toxic. Otherwise you should probably just state the actual facts. Maybe something along the lines of: You saw smoke coming from the floor registers. The smoke had an acrid smell. The smoke was white gray in color. The smoke made your eyes water.

    Different chemicals and reactions produce different color smoke. Firefighters look at the color and density of smoke to help them determine the fuel source. This helps them to take proper precautions.

    And oh by the way, have you ever heard of capitalization and punctuation? A few periods and question marks would make your ramblings much more readable.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    BRUCE

    i am not a former grammar school teacher turned home inspector. i have posted many informational threads and sometimes instead of answer asked for, i get GRAMMAR CORRECTIONS!!!

    you were able to respond to my thread so i think you were able to wonder thru the wording and read it. don't be so critical ok??

    the word toxic means POISIONOUS
    i think had i or my clients experienced this episode as we slept, we would not have made breakfast in the morning..THAT'S TOXIC,NOT ACRID.

    my clients rushed from the house, the city water person wouldn't come in to turn the water on because of the smell and lung threating impact. i was coughing and couldn't wait to get to outside air.
    so only wish you and others were there, so i could have locked the door on you and then wait for you to tell me if this was toxic or not.

    again my question is?????
    has anyone experienced this before

    THANKS
    charlie


  15. #15
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Adjective
    toxic (comparative more toxic, superlative most toxic)
    Positive
    toxic
    Comparative
    more toxic
    Superlative
    most toxic

    1. (toxicology) Having a chemical nature that is harmful to health or lethal if consumed or otherwise entering into the body in sufficient quantities.
    Seems to fit the dictionary definition. I will bet no fire fighter would argue if smoke is toxic.

    Charlie, I am able to understand your post for the most part, but I will have to agree since I am lazy , it is harder to read your posts when you don't use proper capitalization and punctuation. I understand where you are coming from since I started hand writing in all caps after a drafting class in high school and never dropped the habit. It is very difficult for me to write out a case sensitive email address due to my ingrained bad habits. I had to break the habit of using all caps in emails after using a system that required the cap lock to be on to sign on and off, BUT IT CAN BE DONE!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Charlie, did you experience any loss of the sense of taste?

    is there an answer here to what it could have been
    yes!

    Last edited by Vern Heiler; 08-26-2008 at 04:00 PM.

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    Talking toxic ?

    There are some other terms that legally might be better choices such as noxious, pungent, acrid, disagreeable, unpleasant, etc.

    We all are friends here and get Charlie's point. It's just his style of writing. I tend to write fragments sometimes just for effect....

    Sure, a little work on the punctuation and grammar would help us. It would probably help him write his reports a little better, too. Afterall, posting on these sites does (hopefully) develops your composition skills. You can see how far I still have to go.

    Look, back in my former life as a paramedic, you almost had to get an attorney to write your run reports for you. The documentation rules did not allow you to record matters in your everyday jargon or what you were feeling. For instance:

    "The patient was found ambulatory with an ataxic gait and slurred speech oriented to person but not place and time. He was hypersalivating, with signs of urinary incontinence and smelled of ETOH"....

    Translation: he was drunk on his ass stumbling around, drooling, mumbling, didn't know where in the hell is was or what time it was and had peed in his pants.

    Paramedics and nurses are not allowed to state certain things such as "patient is having -_____________ (fill in blank with choice: heart attack, stroke, insulin reaction, etc). You can state observable facts: patient has what appears to be a gunshot wound to the Left Upper Quadrant LUQ of his abdomen. You cannot state he has been shot. You can say he has dimiinished breath sounds in his left chest but you cannot state he has a pneumothorax. Those terms are a diagnosis. Similarly with home inspectors, you often cannot state what you are almost certain something is such as mold or asbestos. Instead, you use some PC bovine feces term.

    It's the game we play but failure to play it correctly comes with penalties and loss of down or even the game.

    Now, if you want to talk about truely toxic, we can discuss the emissions from my Greyhound when she doesn't get her yogurt!

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Smoke of an unknown origin or cause is reason to evacuate the premises. Unless you know for a fact that the origin is a benign source it is time to leave and let the guys in the big red trucks figure out where it is coming from. The ever increasing use of synthetic materials in building products and furnishings makes a home a very dangerous place to be if something starts burning. If you begin to see smoke during an inspection shut off any equipment that you may have turned on (if this action can be accomplished safely). Exit the structure (taking your clients and the seller with you on the way, taking real estate agents is optional). If the fire is small and you have an extinguish handy use it to slow the spread of the fire. Have the seller call 911 while you are getting the fire extinguisher.

    If you are not sure where the smoke is coming from, and you don't know exactly what is causing the smoke then you really should consider that smoke to be toxic until someone can prove otherwise. You can bet that if there is smoke present when the guys in the big red trucks get there they will be wearing breathing apparatus before they go in to investigate. Follow the lead of the guys who deal with this stuff on a regular basis. Smoke Bad!!
    Clean air Good!!

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    ATN Services : Home


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    VERN

    don't understand your response!!!

    yes,what does that mean???

    charlie


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    too all

    i am bad with the grammar part of writing. sorry.--but hope you will all just read my threads and understand you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

    after past blasts from you all, i have tried, so please get over it .it's not going to get any better

    popeye said, "I YEM WHAT I YEM"

    SORRY
    CHARLIE


  21. #21
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT REGISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by CHARLIE VAN FLEET View Post
    too all

    i am bad with the grammar part of writing. sorry.--but hope you will all just read my threads and understand you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
    Charlie,

    Good to see the others are also *get that? "also" * pointing out that if your posts were written better we could understand you better and we could respond better.

    after past blasts from you all, i have tried, so please get over it .it's not going to get any better
    Actually, Charlie, your posts have gotten better, an old dog CAN learn new tricks. Many of us here are 'old dogs' too, and, like you, we are all learning new tricks every day - isn't that why we all come here? To learn? Which includes learning new tricks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Charlie, If the gas was as bad as you discribe, it could very well be a product of refrigerant in the presense of an open flame. I have had the experience more than once. My beer did not taste right for several days after taking a hit. If there was a leak in the coil and then the furnace was lit, it could have produced phosgene gas or very similar to phosgene, also known as "mustard gas".


  23. #23
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    Talking Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Phosgene and mustard gas are two entirely different agents:

    Phosgene-carbonic acid dichloride. can be detected at 0.4 ppm but the Threshold Limit Value is 0.1 ppm Time Weighted Average.

    Sulfur Mustard gas (5 variations)- bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
    TLV 0.003mg/m3

    You can make phosgene by burning refrigerants R-11,12, 113,114 Burning most any refrigerant makes some other nasty compound. None are good for you.

    All should be treated seriously as Alton suggests. When we held HazMat training, we told our guys to treat ALL HazMats as one common compound:
    methyl-ethyl bad sh!t
    That pretty much covers it. Get the hell out and call the cavalry.

    When the cavalry comes, they probably can only detect at best CO, H2S, flammable hydrocarbons, and low O2.

    Alton, I resent your suggestion at leaving a Realtor alone in that atmosphere. They should have legal representation in there as well.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Bob HarperPhosgene and mustard gas are two entirely different agents:

    Should we let the CDC know?

    www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/phosgene/basics/facts.asp

    I now know the acrid smell was not phosgene, but it sure was bad!


  25. #25
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    The last time I saw toxic smoke, I was watching an old episode of Batman when they were battling the Penguin. That umbrella of his was bad news.

    POW!!
    BIFF!!
    BAM!!
    KAPOW!!!!!


  26. #26
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT REGISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Alton, I resent your suggestion at leaving a Realtor alone in that atmosphere. They should have legal representation in there as well.
    Bob,

    I think that real estate agent might need the entire firm of attorneys there with them, you know - to assess the situation. What do you think?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT REGISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post

    Should we let the CDC know?

    www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/phosgene/basics/facts.asp

    I now know the acrid smell was not phosgene, but it sure was bad!

    Vern,



    I read over your link, did an internet search on mustard gas, and the two are not the same.

    Not unless you can point out something that I missed - which is quite likely as I am not a chemist either (not a radon expert either).

    I'm just a lowly unedumacated - no coolege - small town fella.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Phosgene was used extensively during World War I as a choking (pulmonary) agent. Among the chemicals used in the war, phosgene was responsible for the large majority of deaths
    I am not an expert on mustard gas, but phosgene gas is toxic and was used "like" mustard gas, maybe not identical chemically, but the use was similar.

    If you ever smell refrigerant burning while using a torch, it is bad, very bad. The phosgene gas story was recounted with the mustard gas term several times back when I was in a/c school just to get the point across that it was something you don't want to breath.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  29. #29
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    Talking Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    I think Vern is seeing that both were two of the three primary poisonous gases used in WWI. The third was Chlorine gas, which was the most deadly but least effective since the wind swept it away.

    Chlorine is a direct poison
    Phosgene blisters the alveoli in the lungs causing pulmonary edema so you drown in your own fluid.
    Mustard gas is one of 5 types of blistering agents. It was not very noticeable at first. It took awhile to kick in and when it did, it attacked the skin, esp. warm wet areas. Therefore, the troops learned to lube up their crotches and armpits twice a day with Vaseline.
    Just like in "All Quiet on the Western Front", these gases, being heavier than air, pooled in shell holes. When the veterans lying up top removed their masks the kids down in the craters sucked in fatal doses. Another problem was gas being impregnated in the clothing. A soldier outside with gas on his clothes entered a warm bunker where it vaporized and flushed everyone out.

    Mustard may crippled the victim but not kill at first. However, since it mutates DNA, cancer was very common in those exposed.

    Modern nerve gases are primarily organophosphates similar to Malathion bug spray. They trigger a massive release of acetylcholine, which slows the heart, trigger bronchospasm, massive hypersalivation, drop in blood pressure, abnominal spasms, and death. Treatment includes atropine and 2-PAM, which every soldier carries with his NCB kit. No Nick Cage, you don't give yourself an intracardiac injection of atropine. If IV is not available, IM or even down the windpipe will work (if intubated). Generally, when you stab someone in the heart with a 3.5" 16 gauge intracardiac needle, they don't appreciate you for it. Doctors don't even do it anymore even with an EKG lead clipped to the needle to guide positioning. More hollywood BS just like cars blowing up.

    Yes, Jerry a law convention would work, too.

    To the Dept. of Homeland Security reading this thread: I like reading military history and I was a paramedic. I'm not a subversive. Thanks. Oh, yes, those were jokes about the realtors and lawyers. Well, at least the realtor part ;-)

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Phosgene blisters the alveoli in the lungs causing pulmonary edema so you drown in your own fluid.
    Has anyone heard from Charlie?


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    VERN

    i'm a two tour vietnam vet.been thru it all. nothing can kill me --or should i say NOT YET. LOOKING TO GO QUIETLY IN MY SLEEP DREAMING THOSE NASTY DREAMS. BRING HER ON.
    CHARLIE


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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Charlie, glad to see you are still on the right side of the grass .

    I have learned a lot from this thread, hope others have as well. I have never had the experience you discribed, it was just my theory. Let us know what shows up during repair.

    Vern


  33. #33

    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Howdy Gents!

    Reading through this thread has been fun, I saw the humor in some of the comments, which was apparently not appreciated by others… I like Charlie's typing skills - they display passion and expression... that's good.

    In any event, as a chemist and a toxicologist…

    Here we go. Describing virtually any kind of smoke as “toxic” is pretty much OK by me. Toxic doesn’t have to mean lethal, it just means that there is some upset in homeostasis that may result in an adverse physiological effect (irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes is an adverse physiological effect.

    There are degrees of toxicity and physiological responses which may range from unnoticeable to violent death. To a toxicologist, all substances are “toxic,” we are just interested in dose; the dose makes the poison.

    Phosgene vs. phosphine. Although conceivable, it would be difficult to imagine how a furnace or AC unit could produce phosgene, it is somewhat more conceivable that furnace or AC unit could produce phosphine – two different beasts, neither one of them very friendly. However, if it was phosphine, the chances that you would live long enough to post the experience on this board are slim.

    Vern was right about the refrigerant being either oxidized or, worse, structurally rearranged via a UV source into phosphine (not phosgene); although I suppose it could happen under the right conditions. Neither one is mustard gas. Bob is close in ultimate reaction, but phosgene doesn’t blister the alveoli.

    Gas versus smoke – two different things.

    I think the question of “What was it?” is far less important than “What caused it?” And I think answering the last question is a lot cheaper and more practical, as well.

    What was it? Heck I dunno – probably toxic smoke.

    Best response? Rush out of the house with client in kid in tow, and hit the emergency shut off. Works for me. Then call an industrial hygienist or HVAC guy (depending on whether you want it identified or fixed, respectively).

    But the way, talking about toxic smoke, as part of an experiment I’m conducting, I just filled my office full of toxic smoke by releasing titanium tetrachloride into the room –NASTY! (I’m measuring the decay rate constant).

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


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    Cool Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    "Phosgene doesn't blister the alveoli"

    "Phosgene is an insidious poison as the odor may not be noticed and symptoms may be slow to appear.[8] Phosgene can be detected at 0.4 ppm, which is 4x the Threshold Limit Value. Its high toxicity arises, not from hydrogen chloride released by hydrolysis, but by the action of the phosgene on the proteins in the pulmonary alveoli. The alveoli are the site of gas exchange, and their damage disrupts the blood – air barrier and causing suffocation. Phosgene detection badges are worn by those at risk of exposure.[1]"

    I guess I was a little liberal in my paraphrasing. Apparently, phosgene's action invovles the surfactants in the alveoli, which facilitate gas exchange. Regardlesss, the damage is in the alveoli where gas does not exchange. You then get acidotic & hypoxic, the die.

    Yes, all poisonings are dose over time. Also, some poisons have short half lives or easily decompose or are soluble in water or something that mitigates their effect.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    /too all

    i am alive and breathing again today BUT

    Caoimhin are you after dropping that titanium bomb??? hope you warned others in your office.

    and that was a heavy thread, not sure what you were saying,but it sounded great
    charlie


  36. #36

    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Charlie,
    I to want to die qietly in my sleep, like my grandfather did, not screamimg like all the passengers in his car.

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  37. #37

    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Hi Charlie!

    Oh, I’m fine … but two of my office colleagues ran for cover … being dogs, they’re a tad more sensitive to my antics. My boss walked in and just looked at the set-up and decided it was best not to ask what was going on.

    In any event, as a general rule, I mostly worry about lead poisoning ... after that the rest is cake.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  38. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Osceola, AR
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: TOXIC SMOKE OUT OF HEAT RFEGEISTERS

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Alton, I resent your suggestion at leaving a Realtor alone in that atmosphere. They should have legal representation in there as well.
    Bob
    Bob, you are absolutely right, I don't know what I was thinking.

    Alton


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