Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hydrazine for the Masses


So since the 1987 study cited by the previous post says that hydrazine is used in everything from cigarettes to airbags, it must be safe enough to hand out to children. I would love to see the next flavor of Kool-Aid be hydrazine. I bet it is delicious. Seeing as there was enough hydrazine on board to fill 2 football fields, I think that exposure may be a little higher than that found in cigarettes. This is what a study done by the EPA and revised in 2000 has to say about hydrazine exposure:

Symptoms of acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of hydrazine may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma in humans. Acute exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine.


This does not sound like your family safe chemical that one would want in a heavily populated area like say, a massive Chinese city. The short-term exposure levels are enough to put a human being in a coma. Sounds pretty serious to me. And last time I checked, China does not have the health care capabilities to deal with chemical exposure of this magnitude.

The satellite was the size of a bus. Imagine the damage this would cause if it were to strike a building. There would be little chance of survival, and those who did survive would be exposed to the massive amounts of hydrazine. The US was unsure of what form the hydrazine would be in when it reentered Earth's atmosphere as well. If it was in a gaseous state, the damage could be much more extreme. Either way, it is possible for thousands of people to die if a satellite the size of a bus, carrying a toxic material, were to crash into a large building filled with people. The fact that hydrazine is a carcinogen does not help either. Those who are exposed to it have the potential to develop tumors also.

I admit that the chance it would hit China and even a population center in China is very low, but it is still possible. I would hope that you would not be "laughing aloud" if the satellite were to hit Beijing or Shanghai. Just the same, many people thought it was highly unlikely that 2 planes would be flown into the same building within minutes and another into the Pentagon, and I know there were not many people "laughing aloud." It was also a great shock when the levies broke in New Orleans and a city was devastated after Hurricane Katrina, and I would venture to say that not many people were "laughing aloud." I do believe that the US did shoot this down mainly to show that they had the capability to, and I also know that they did not want any country to have their hands on the technology that was displayed in this satellite, but the US also does not want to tarnish an already questionable international image by being responsible for a satellite landing in a Chinese city and killing and injuring thousands of civilians.

I recognize that the debris caused by the destruction of the satellite is not an issue. I thought that I had made that clear in my previous post with the joke that China was worried only because it may obstruct certain views of their current satellites. I would expect that the death toll from hydrazine exposure would increase to a much higher number than 1 if the satellite were to hit a population center. So next time some unbelievable tragedy rocks the international scene, I hope that at some point in your life, you did no "laugh aloud" at the previous thought of such an event taking place.


5 comments:

Mr. Bojangles said...

The levees breaking was not a surprise. There were people aware of there weakness and that there was a chance of breakage. There were actually several reports produced on this before Katrina.

Weaponizing Axl Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Weaponizing Axl Rose said...

I'm laughing even harder now. I dont even know what you are attempting to argue. Did 9/11 cause the satellite to fall?

"Just the same, many people thought it was highly unlikely that 2 planes would be flown into the same building within minutes and another into the Pentagon, and I know there were not many people "laughing aloud."

Actually, several experts in the intelligence community predicted this kind of attack whereas no one actually believes the satellite is any kind of threat. At least 2 or 3 such satellites fall from the sky every year. Take a gander at this http://www.stimson.org/pub.cfm?id=570

Molvanian Ambassador said...

maybe its just the hydrazine in my tea, but these posts/comments seem, as Alan Greenspan is oft careful to say, "l0lz".

the issue here is the use of military force to achieve national interests. the satellite shootdown was motivated by both the health concern and the showing off of U.S. arms/technology superiority - both were accomplished my military might, and neither goal negates the other.

the priority of interests is a rhetorical debate that can go either way, depending on whether you are trying to impress the eco-friendly doves of peace or the survival-at-all-costs dogs of war.

Ergo, move on.

Colonel Sanders said...

I agree 100% with the Molvanian ambassador that both military and health concerns were issues in the decision to destroy the satellite. I also agree that this was nearly a week ago, and we should all move on.

As far as axl rose is concerned, the point made, which I thought was quite clear, was that often tragedies happen that surprise the general population, and this tragedy generally does not elicit laughter. I am well aware that many predicted an attack of this kind and even the levees breaking, but it was still extremely unexpected and sad, as I am sure we all agree on.