Home Podcasts THMG088 – Fentanyl, Part IV: Analysis from The HazMat Guys

THMG088 – Fentanyl, Part IV: Analysis from The HazMat Guys


In this episode, we review our three fentanyl episodes and expand on some of the points they brought up.

Complete Show Notes

3:30 Observations and Realizations

  • Fentanyl is being imported from China, rather than being produced domestically
  • Also comes in through Canada
  • People are selling it on the street for way more than they originally paid for it
  • Lethal dose for fentanyl and carfentanyl is extremely low in comparison to sarin – it can definitely be used as a WMD
  • Absorbs transdermally in a mere 3 hours through exposed skin – we always need our PPE and SCBA
  • There are still lots of people who don’t believe how dangerous fentanyl is because they don’t understand the science

9:35 Production Labs

  • Fentanyl labs make meth labs look like child’s play – again, we have to take it seriously
  • It’s much easier to synthesize than meth, and there’s less of a chance that something will go wrong

11:20 A Discrepancy

  • Is fentanyl water soluble?
    • Fentanyl is lipophilic, which means it likes fats
    • Sparingly soluble in water – it’s not miscible, but it’s soluble
    • When washing with soap and water, water acts as a disinfectant and helps remove fentanyl from the surface
    • Soap doesn’t change the structure of fentanyl to make it water-soluble, but it helps water wash some of it away
    • Fentanyl HCL (what we see on the street) is much more soluble than fentanyl citrate (what you find in the patch)
    • Fentanyl is 92% bioavailable as a transdermal dose is because it’s lipid- and water-soluble at the same time
    • Disinfecting is easy, especially if you’re wearing PPE – just bathe and put on a change of clothes

19:20 Detecting Fentanyl

  • As long as it’s in your library, you’ll be able to pick it up with your meter
  • Labs have certain common precursors, so keep an eye out for them
  • Check out Todd Burton’s website: LAB-ID Chemical Precursor Database
    • Sign up with an official email address for access
    • You can put in what you’re seeing on-scene, and the site will tell you what type of lab you’re dealing with
  • If you feel anything on a call, don’t overreact – the only way you can die is if your respiratory system shuts down, which is highly unlikely

29:00 What Do We Do About PPE?

  • Two of our experts said Level A is the only way to go, while the other one said you only need a minimum of a M100 mask
  • It’s nearly impossible to completely remove fentanyl from your SCBA and PPE
  • There’s a lot of companies that claim their products can “kill” fentanyl, but even these specialty products can’t completely remove fentanyl
  • APR is a really good choice when you’re dealing with fentanyl – no straps, hard surfaces that are easy to wipe down, and interior netting
  • Bob and Mike recommend using Level C and APR when you’re dealing with fentanyl

35:55 Decon Solutions

  • Everyone agrees on soap and water
  • A few solutions out there can render fentanyl obsolete within 2-3 minutes – they’re not harmful to materials, but don’t spray them on people

39:40 Carfentanyl as a WMD

  • Easily accessible
  • When milled down into a very fine powder, carfentanyl can do a lot of damage
  • Transdermal absorption isn’t our main concern – inhalation is
  • If you’re responding to this kind of incident, keep airways open and clear until medical personnel arrive

Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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