When handling dry ice, there are a few basic guidelines that should be followed for optimal safety.
Dry ice should never be ingested and should be kept out of the reach of children.
At -109◦ F dry ice has extreme cooling power! Exposure to unprotected skin can leave a burn without the appropriate safety measures. Dry ice should always be handled with protective gloves, a towel or pot holders.
Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide. Because it is so cold, it is continuously “melting” or more accurately sublimating from a solid to CO2 gas. This carbon dioxide gas displaces oxygen. As a result, dry ice should always be used in a well-ventilated area. Make sure you leave windows open when transporting dry ice in a vehicle to provide adequate ventilation. If you ever feel lightheaded or have difficulty breathing in a space where dry ice has been contained, leave the area immediately.
Dry ice should be stored in an insulated container to make it last longer. However, make sure you are storing dry ice in a container that is not airtight. As dry ice sublimates, or goes from a solid to a gas, it will expand. An airtight container could expand and possibly explode if the gas doesn’t have anywhere to go.
With these simple tips, you can safely handle dry ice. To find more dos and don’ts, visit our dry ice safe handling page.