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Dry ice used for packaging COVID-19 vaccines

Published on: March 09, 2021

Dry ice used for packaging poses several potential risks to workers who handle it. With COVID-19 vaccinations in progress in B.C., workers in shipping and receiving, delivery workers, and others may come into contact with packages containing dry ice. Risks are increased when working in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, such as storage areas or walk-in coolers.

Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide (CO2) and at room temperature, changes from a solid to an odourless, colourless gas. Because this gas is heavier than air, it can displace breathable air in enclosed or poorly ventilated workspaces. In addition to loss of consciousness due to exposure to CO2, other risks include frostbite, chemical burns, and explosions.

A new risk advisory, Dry ice used for packaging COVID-19 vaccines, explains the risks of CO2 exposure, symptoms of exposure, and how to reduce those risks.