The experts have said that the devastating explosions and injury cases that took place in Beirut earlier this week should be a wake-up call for nations across the world over the level of dangers posed by ammonium nitrate.
Stewart Walker, of the school of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University in Adelaide said, “Beirut, like Texas, is a wake-up call. We should learn from these catastrophes and make sure they don’t happen again.”
Ammonium nitrate is commonly used in fertilizers and as an industrial explosive. It is considered relatively safe if handled properly, but it has proved lethal in Beirut’s case killing more than 150 people, injuring thousands and leaving about a quarter of a million people homeless.
In Texas, in 1947, one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents took place when 2,300 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated aboard a ship and claimed 567 lives.