What chemical in airbags can lead to alkaline burns in patients involved in motor vehicle accidents?
The impact of a motor vehicle crash discharges an electrical charge causes sodium azide to convert into nitrogen gas inside the airbag. Thermal burns are the result of the gas heating during the inflation process, while the sodium hydroxide and sodium azide cause alkaline corrosion to patient’s skin.
Suhr M et al. Burn injuries resulting from (accidental) airbag inflation. J Craniomaxillofac Surg 2004; 32(1):35-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2003.08.004
Submitted by: Abigail Sharpe, PharmD