After potassium is mined as potash, potassium chloride (KCl) is separated from the mixture, resulting in a granular fertilizer.
As an inhalation risk, evaporation at 20°C is negligible. A nuisance-causing concentration of airborne particles can be reached quickly when dispersed, especially in powdered form. Inhalation of KCl causes cough and sore throat, and exposure to the substance brings about eye redness or pain. Therefore, workers handling KCl should wear safety goggles. Exposed eyes should be rinsed with plenty of water for several minutes and contact lenses should be removed. Medical consultation should be sought as soon as possible.
Potassium chloride can be absorbed into the body by accidental or deliberate ingestion. When potassium chloride is ingested, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes weakness or convulsions may be evoked. KCl poisoning results in cardiac dysrhythmias when ingested at high amounts. To avoid such incidents, workers should be prohibited from eating, drinking, or smoking during application of fertilizer. In cases when ingestion is suspected, the mouth should be rinsed. In conscious persons, induce vomiting (20).
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