RAMSEY, N.J. -- A 24-year-old Ramsey man died Monday after drinking a toxic cocktail made from mixing a chemical used in airbags with water.
It was unclear whether the Peach Hill condominium resident knew that he was drinking sodium azide, responders said, adding that family notifications were made.
Sodium azide is described as "a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that exists as an odorless white solid. When it is mixed with water or an acid, sodium azide changes rapidly to a toxic gas with a pungent (sharp) odor."
In a car, the chemical explodes when triggered electronically by a crash, converting to nitrogen gas and instantly expanding airbags. It's also used as a chemical preservative in hospitals and laboratories.
Ramsey Rescue and police responded, then requested hazardous materials units from Mahwah and Bergen County.
Responders had to be decontaminated.
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