What makes napalm so dangerous
Phosphorus instead of amber: danger on the beach
White phosphorus was part of incendiary bombs in World War II - studies show that more than 4,000 were dropped over the Baltic Sea. To this day there are individual pieces phosphorus washed from the seabed to the beaches. They are similar to amber and can cause burns and poisoning. Also so-called Gunwool is often confused with conventional stones.
Many spa administrations point out the dangers in their beach regulations. However, accidents do occur again and again when stone collectors mistakenly mistake the lumps for amber.
Burns from phosphorus
If phosphorus dries, it combines with oxygen and ignites at temperatures around 34 degrees. It then burns at 1,300 degrees and can hardly be extinguished. The flames can only be fought with sand or special fire extinguishers - water only harms. Water also produces phosphoric acid, which also corrodes the skin.
Burns from phosphorus destroy the tissue much stronger than conventional burns. The phosphorus burns itself deep into the skin - through the fatty tissue and into the muscles.
As Immediate action if those affected call the emergency doctor, take off their clothes in the cold water. The wounds usually have to be closed by skin grafts in a specialist clinic.
Around To avoid accidents, experts recommend never to carry a supposed amber find in trouser or jacket pockets. The stones should be kept in cans or other metallic vessels.
White phosphorus is also highly toxic. For example, if children playing swallow a piece, this can have serious consequences:
- Disorders in the stomach and intestines
- Liver damage
- Metabolic disorders
- Damage to the heart and kidneys
Danger from gun wool on the beach
So-called gunwool, which washes up from the sea, is often confused with conventional stones. The explosive is a mixture of hexyl, TNT and other additives. As the composition varies, the remains can look very different. They often have glittering inclusions and are therefore of interest to stone collectors. The hexyl contained in the gunwool is carcinogenic. It turns yellow on contact with the skin. In addition, painful blisters form.
Ammunition containing phosphorus in the North Sea and Baltic Sea
The British Air Force used a mixture of phosphorus and rubber as a filling for incendiary bombs during World War II. One of the British aims was to set up a National Socialist weapons testing facility in Peenemünde. According to studies, over 4,000 incendiary bombs have been dropped on the Baltic Sea. After the end of the war, the occupying powers also decided to sink around 85 percent of the chemical weapons found in Germany in the sea.
In the meantime, many of the steel jackets of the projectiles have rusted through on the sea floor and the remains are washed up on the coast. Experts estimate that up to 1.3 million tons of ammunition containing phosphorus lie on the bottom of the North Sea and 300,000 tons in the Baltic Sea.
Experts on the subject
Jens Sternheim, a graduate in administration
Head of the expert group on ammunition in the sea
Dr. Felix Hagen Stang
Senior Consultant at the Plastic Surgery Clinic
University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck Campus
Ratzeburger Alle 160
Dr. Frank Rudolph, biologist
At the pipe bowl 9
Prof. Dr. Edmund Maser, director
Institute for Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Scientists University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein Campus Kiel
Brunswiker Street 10
1st chairman of the DLRG local group Graal-Müritz e.V.
Dr. Frank Rudolph: How do I determine stones on the beach? 96 p., Wachholtz Verlag (2016); 7.90 euros
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Visit | 08/27/2019 | 8:15 pm
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