Friday, August 15, 2008
Nitrogen dioxide vs. nitrous oxide
Today, for the second time in two days, I observed the release of orange-brown gas from a company across the street from the place where I work. I noticed this as I was leaving work between 4:40 and 5:00 PM on both days. But today I had the presence of mind to grab my camera phone and get a picture.
Someone else called in this gas release today and caused a bit of a commotion. But in a report on the 10:00 news today an official spokesman for the company said that it was just nitrous oxide, perfectly harmless, just an ordinary release as part of their everyday operations.
Except nitrous oxide is colorless. This stuff was orange-brown, as seen in the photo above. Like nitrogen dioxide, which also differs from nitrous oxide by being toxic.
So what was it? I can't say for sure. But the cat's out of the bag. We'll see if anyone looks further into this. Somehow, I don't think it's acceptable to release whatever this is in close proximity to residences, a school complex, several other industrial facilities, a credit union...