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Common name: Nitrous oxide or laughing gas, N2O
As a weak anaesthetic gas, dinitrogenoxide has been in use since the 19th century in medicine and dentistry. It is used in the dairy industry as a mixing and foaming agent as it is bacteriostatic (stops bacteria from growing) and leaves no taste and odour. It is used in diving to avoid nitrogen narcosis and other effects experienced in deep dives. Releases to the environment
Dinitrogenoxide is produced both naturally from a wide variety of biological sources in soil and water and anthropogenically by a varity of agricultural, energy-related, industrial and waste management activities. Two major sources of man-made emissions are in general agricultural soils and the manufacture of nitric acids and adipic acid - a feedstock for nylon manufacture.
Impacts on the environment and human health
The main impact of dinitrogenoxide on the global environment is as a greenhouse gas, leading to global warming. For many countries it is the third most important greenhouse gas. It is also an ozone depleting substance causing damage to the ozone layer.
The emissions of dinitrogenoxide are under the United Nations convention on climate change - the Kyoto Protocol. Furthermore dinitrogenoxide is on the EU-Commissions EPER list and listed in the PRTR Protocol under the Århus Convention.
CAS NO: 10024-97-2
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