• Question: what is the most dangerous chemical in the world?

    Asked by Amanpreet to Ahmed, Francesca, George, James, Nitheen on 13 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 13 Nov 2014:

      Hi Amanpreet,

      There are loads of dangerous chemicals.

      TNT is explosive, digoxin is a dangerous poison (made from foxcloves) benzpyrene is a dangerous pollutant released when coal is burned.

    • Photo: Francesca Paradisi

      Francesca Paradisi answered on 13 Nov 2014:

      I was told once that the most toxic product is in fact a natural product, botulin, which is a protein. Anthrax is extremely dangerous too, also a natural substance produced by a bacterium. Of course there are many chemicals that are also dangerous and once tests are carried out and show their toxicity, they are generally withdrawn from the market (like DTT).

    • Photo: Ahmed Osman

      Ahmed Osman answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Hi Amanpreet
      Thanks for the fabulous question
      It’s our chemical all-star team of death. In my opinion it is cyanide because it binds to cytochrome c oxidase, a protein in the mitochondria, and stops the cells from using oxygen. And it kills you in just 9 seconds. However the most powerful and strong acid is Fluoroantimonic acid (H2FSbF6), the strongest acid in the world, it is which is one million times stronger than sulphuric acid, is corrosive and can dissolve, among other things, glass and most metals.

    • Photo: George Dowson

      George Dowson answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Depends a lot on how you measure danger! That said, the most dangerous chemical that’s commonly used is either acrylonitrile or high purity hydrogen peroxide.
      The first is extremely toxic, flammable and explosive, and is used to make some plastics.
      Number 2 (hydrogen peroxide) is very common indeed in low concentration used as a powerful bleach. However it is very reactive and can decompose to make oxygen easily, making fires and explosions happen unexpectedly.
      In a lab a large proportion or accidents come from hydrogen peroxide.