Hydronitric acid is a volatile compound of hydrogen and nitrogen and is expressed as HN3. It is also known as hydrazoic acid, azoamide and diazoamide. The compound is formed by the acidification of sodium azide.
Sodium azide is a white, odorless powder that is most commonly found inside vehicle airbags due to its ability to easily explode. During a collision, an electrical charge ignites the chemical, converting it into nitrogen gas, which inflates the airbag. Sodium azide is also used in hospitals and laboratories as a chemical preservative.
When this compound mixes with water or metal, it becomes a toxic gas with a pungent odor. This gas is then called hydronitic acid. Accidental contact with this substance could be through inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. Symptoms to watch for include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing or blisters on the skin. Chronic exposure leads to convulsions, respiratory failure or death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are ways to reduce the harm caused by this compound. First, the CDC recommends that those who come in contact with it move to an area with fresh air, away from the chemical exposure. It is also recommended to remove and dispose of contaminated clothing immediately. It is important to seek medical care immediately following exposure to this chemical.