Chemists have found a reactive class of compounds in the atmosphere that may be harmful to humans. These compounds are called organic hydrotrioxides, reactive compounds that last only briefly in the atmosphere

However, although they may last for only a short time, they could have effects that we know nothing about. According to Henrik Grum Kjægaard, a chemist from the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) in Denmark, “These compounds have well been around-we just didn’t know about them. But the fact that we now have evidence that the compounds are formed and live for a certain amount of time means that it is possible to study their effect and respond if they turn out to be dangerous,”

Hydrogen peroxide is a common chemical compound, in which all peroxides have two oxygen atoms attached to each other that make them highly reactive; most of the time, they’re flammable and explosive. These are often used for almost everything, from hair to teeth whitening. Unbeknownst to some, peroxides are also found in the air.

There has been speculation in the past years about whether trioxides are found in the atmosphere. Trioxides come with three oxygen atoms attached to each other, which makes them more reactive than peroxides.

“The type of compounds we discovered are unique in their structure. And, because they are extremely oxidizing, they most likely bring a host of effects that we have yet to uncover,” said Kjægaard. The researchers at the UCPH, were joined by their colleagues at Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech.

They showed that hydrotrioxides are formed during the atmospheric decomposition of several known and widely emitted substances. Therefore, researchers now expect that almost all chemical compounds will form hydrotrioxides in the atmosphere and may last from minutes to hours out there. Hence, they are stable enough to react with many atmospheric compounds.

The discovery of hydrotrioxides will help researchers learn more about the effect of the chemicals humans emit. Therefore, the researchers said that knowledge of the reactions will help them determine atmospheric chemistry to predict how human’s actions will affect the atmosphere in the future. Furthermore, they are not worried about this new discovery, and it might not be that harmful to humans yet. The researchers said that these compounds have always been around. But now that they are aware of them, they could study them further to see if they turn out to be dangerous.

Source: This news is originally published by techtimes

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