A Few Words on Water Table Fluid (Sodium Nitrite)

As we Aggies say, “Got a little story for you Ags.”

TL;DR: If you’re going to use Sodium Nitrite, protect yourself, family, pets, property, and water like all your lives depend on it. Keep activated charcoal on hand and tell the ambulance/ER they’ll need to administer Methylene Blue as fast as possible - if you think there’s any possibility of any person or animal ingesting it.

To add some information regarding the Sodium Nitrite containing fluids. Last year in my real job, we got a report of 12 dead cows after drinking a mystery purple liquid. The liquid was in three, 15 gallon containers. Cows are curious, and knocked one over, causing it to leak onto the ground. Apparently nearly all of them ended up lapping up some of the liquid, which was estimated to be about 8 gallons spilled and it had also soaked into the ground, so theoretically they didn’t drink much. The container labels were badly worn and couldn’t be identified, but it was bright purple. It took me the better part of the day, but I was able to reconstruct a label from the photos the Sheriff sent, do a bunch of Googling, and determine that it was probably boiler water corrosion inhibitor. (Used in large industrial boilers, like for an old school, hospital, etc.) I managed to match some of the label wording to an MSDS on file with the EPA from 1981, found the company in Ft. Worth, and happened to get ahold of one of their tech specialists that had worked for the company for 35+ years and was one month from retirement. He confirmed it was their product, and based on the containers and one word on the label, determined the time period they manufactured it and pulled the recipe. Back then, it contained Sodium Nitrite. I called the TxDPS forensics lab and the Vet to call the A&M lab, and it was later confirmed.

Here’s the awful part: The Vet explained that the animals had caustic burns in their mouths and esophagi, the A&M CVM pathology lab confirmed the chemical in the stomachs (but not the purple color). The animals died miserably. The small amount of NaNO2 that they ingested (maybe 8 gallons between twelve 800-1000-ish lb cows), caused the burns (it’s basic and an oxidizer) and starved their bodies of oxygen, leading to confusion, convulsions, unconsciousness, and eventually, death. They had died long enough prior to the Vet’s examination that the typical blue coloring of the mouth from oxygen starvation wasn’t observed. (Think blue baby syndrome.)

The one good thing is that the liquid was purple, for two reasons. One, I wouldn’t have been able to identify it so fast if it weren’t. Two, the purple dye was a pH indicator. The Sheriff couldn’t determine who was responsible for dumping the containers, and they were taken back to his office and put in an indoor evidence room. (As soon as I heard that, I told them to get it into an outdoor locker!) The County would have to pay for its disposal as hazardous waste. After speaking with the company rep, he confirmed that acid could be added to it to neutralize it, and it would turn clear when it was neutralized. (The adding of the acid was a dangerous process, and was monitored by a nearby university chemistry professor and EHS manager, the County emergency management coordinator, and performed by a neighboring City’s Fire Chief / Certified Hazmat Technician in Level A PPE.) Then it could be taken to a nearby city with a large wastewater treatment plant where it could be safely disposed of. (Large cities >50,000 population usually have multiple wastewater treatment processes in one or more very large plants. They are normally capable of treating Nitrates and Nitrites that naturally occur in the wastewater stream, but an influx of straight chemical has to be titrated in carefully and the plant has to be monitored during the disposal, because if done wrong, it could literally kill the plant (the microorganisms that are the entire basis of wastewater treatment; they die, and you don’t get to flush your toilet for a while). Please interpret the previous information as “do not try this at home”.

Unfortunately the owner of the cattle and the County had no one to prosecute, however the cattle that were unaffected didn’t have to be destroyed because we were able to determine the exact cause.

So, if you’re going to home brew fluid, protect yourself and your family by treating the pure chemical and mixture as if it were the most dangerous thing in your home (it could be). If you’re going to use commercial fluid, keep the SDS on hand, and teach your friends/family/coworkers to recognize the signs of Sodium Nitrite exposure (ingested or inhaled) and what to tell emergency personnel should the need arise.

From PubChem: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Sodium-nitrite#section=Safety-and-Hazards

Health Hazard
Ingestion (or inhalation of excessive amounts of dust) causes rapid drop in blood pressure, persistent and throbbing headache, vertigo, palpitations, and visual disturbances; skin becomes flushed and sweaty, later cold and cyanotic; other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes), fainting, methemoglobinemia. Contact with eyes causes irritation. (USCG, 1999)

Ingestion (or inhalation of large amounts) causes poisoning which may produce cyanosis, marked fall in blood pressure, leading to collapse, coma, and possibly death. Irritating to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. (USCG, 1999)

NaNO2 isn’t all bad, it has many beneficial uses, but I’ve already got enough dangerous chemicals lying around, so I’m not going to stock one that is apparently delicious. Personally, I’m going to try a propylene glycol based fluid, I have a couple of gallons of it, it’s harmless, and easy to find at any feedstore: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/ideal-animal-health-usp-propylene-glycol-1-gal

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You want to use antifreeze to keep your water from freezing?.

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Be careful which type you use. Antifreeze can be explosive when used in a plasma water table. I have a list from a year or so ago identifying which was safe but I’ll have to go looking for it. I ended up not going the antifreeze route but going with a lizard habitat warmer instead.

Propylene Glycol is not antifreeze, Ethylene Glycol is antifreeze.
Where I am in Texas, I don’t have to worry about the water freezing.

Actually it is antifreeze. But it’s a safe to eat kind used as plumbing antifreeze and in foods. It’s safe, until you burn it then it gives off formaldehyde which causes cancer and is a suffocation hazard. Ethylene glycol is like antifreeze in cars and is poison to eat.

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I am aware of that, but many people are not and it’s not prudent to muddy the waters. Many salts can also be used as antifreeze solutions, but PG isn’t a very good antifreeze and it’s not worth using (i.e., dilution, viscosity, pump head loss, etc.) unless you have to for a specific non-toxic application. Many substances can create formaldehyde as a product of combustion, as it is one of the most basic of organic chemical compounds, CH2O; however what you’re referring to is a debunked study based on burning pure propylene glycol and VG in vape liquid in extreme conditions. If you didn’t gather from my long winded story, I know what I’m doing.

I don’t doubt you know what you’re doing. None the less your post said PG is not antifreeze and it is. My question was if you wanted to prevent your table from freezing, Which you didn’t answer because if wasn’t then I was just going to suggest Borax instead, Which many here use in their tables. Cheaper, Easier to obtain, Mixture proportions are lenient and is not poisonous in the environment.

And as I found later it won’t eat the zinc plating off your crossfire. If allowed to sit it will leave hard deposits (like water sports) which can be soaked and removed. this is the only drawback I’ve found.

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I sure hope so. My solar hot water system is full of it and it gets sub-freezing here for much of the winter :grin:

For the cost, availability and performance, I don’t know why anybody would use anything other than Green Cut.

Well for me the nearest supplier is 2 hours away. Its 16 bucks a litre which is a little more than I need for one period on the table so say 16 bucks. My tabke drains into a tank (that has heater tape around it) through a filter but there is no agitation other than the arc from cutting which I understand is not enough. It needs to flow like river is what I was told.

Borax is 6 bucks at the corner store and I need about a cup and a half for a full table. I add a out 5 gallons once a month and and add 1/4 cup more. Water is always clear and nothing is rusty. The borax box has lasted almost a year now and theres still probably 1/3 of the box left

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@JaVelin Oh my God, let me tell you everything about all my reasons and intimate details so you don’t get upset anymore.

No, I don’t care about it freezing. PG is not what most people think of as antifreeze and it is dangerous to mix discussions about toxic ethlyene glycol with non-toxic propylene glycol. Your question was poorly executed and I didn’t respond to it because I thought you were someone who was confusing the two and I figured someone else would come and correct you. I never mentioned using the PG for antifreeze purposes, because that’s irrelevant to the subject.

I ALREADY have some from cattle treatment that I don’t need anymore. I’ve since used it to make my own airbrush thinner, hand lotion, moisturizer, and mixture with his meds so my dog won’t reject them; it’s easy to dilute with water and clean up, it lubricates the airbrush so it doesn’t rust or seize up, and I haven’t gotten any annoying residue.

If it doesn’t work, I have a $5 bag of borax too, which is harder for me to find than PG, and it also makes me break out in a rash even when using gloves and a face mask. And I don’t want my shop cat getting up there and slurping on something when I’m not looking that might make him sick (he gets diarrhea easily and has an inside litterbox too, and I have to clean it). Please stop trying to find fault in everything I say and let me try my own damned experiment how I’d like to.

@swizcore GreenCut is exactly the product I’m looking to duplicate, as it’s 15-40% PG and $200 for five gallons. Pure PG is $20/gallon, and it’s available at any feedstore; so 5 gallons of my mixture at 20%-40% PG will cost $20-$40 instead of $200.

One more thing about my actual warning story, which was the whole point to begin with. The boiler chemical only contained 12% Sodium Nitrite, and it is what was confirmed to kill the cattle.

I ran 3 liters of Green Cut in my original Crossfire for a year. When water evaporates, the Green Cut does not, just top off the water every few uses and never have health, environment, bacteria or rust issues ever.

Not upset. I just didnt understand why you said PG isn’t antifreeze.

I don’t know. I don’t see the point in not just ponying up $60 for a years worth of cutting solution.

How much green cut is needed for the pro table?

Antifreeze, to many if not most average people, is a specific product they put in their car. In the States, there are still many car products that are primarily made with ethylene glycol. The use of the term antifreeze is akin to saying Kleenex or Coke for any number of similar products, and is dangerous to throw around without qualifying the term every time with what chemical it’s based on attached to it.

You have no idea how many times I’ve done investigations where a company tells me that their product is “green”, “natural”, or “bio-degradable” when it’s actually hazardous and they’re just dumping it down the drain into the water supply (or worse), and people and animals have been harmed. Radiation, Strychnine, and Anthrax are all those things too. Very few people take the time to research because they believe that a company wouldn’t sell a product that is harmful or the government wouldn’t allow it for sale.

PG is one of those things that got a seriously bad rep due to the political pissing match over vaping. The anti-vape side allowed and encouraged people to think that there was ethylene glycol car antifreeze in the products. There are plenty of people that still do. Same thing happened with the “vaping crisis” when scientists and the medical community knew it was vitamin E acetate in CBD oil and nothing to do with normal vaping liquid, but they and the news media let the fearmongering go on until it became clear that the actual reason was going to become widely known, so the issue just disappeared and no one noticed, because there was now an impeachment to pay attention to.

That’s a PG specific example, but what it’s really about is the willingness of people to believe what they hear without thinking for themselves and verifying anything. It encourages ignorance in society and allows for manipulation by companies, political parties, and media sources that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago. If you’re an informed and moral person, it is your responsibility to be clear and thorough with technical or easily misunderstood information in order to prevent harm and protect and encourage what little free thought and intelligent curiosity people may have left.

@swizcore are you a shill or are you dense? @JaVelin and I both explained that our methods were easier and MUCH less expensive than your product. Mine, using a formula identical to yours, would be $6.32 per year; and JaVelin’s is somewhere between $3 and $4.

@twistedgst According to the shill, about 3 liters (~3 quarts or ~.75 gallon) initially, which apparently lasts all year in the original Crossfire. I don’t remember off the top of my head, but I think the Pro holds at least 12 gallons of liquid, so you could spend $5 on borax or $80 on PG and fill the rest with water and achieve the same effect.

3 Liters at 13 gallons of water which is the volume I run in my table.


Sell a couple more pieces. It’s $60 :roll_eyes:

for those that have been using borax is there any weird smells I ask because ill be cutting in my garage and using a 16gal water tank under my table for draining

I do. Same thing with a tank underneath. No smells water look clean when its settled and after filtered… I heat the tank in the winter. Shops heated during the day when the tables full. No smells or plant life. Shop is 26 x40’ . 15’ high closed all winter no special ventilation cutting steel. It’s only cutting for max 20-30 minutes in a whole day on days I cut. Once in a while I’ll do a lot more. I think I have 600 pierces on the consumable in it now and that was last week. Pretty average for me. Hope it helos