The Alkene Tans-stilbene

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Trinitrotoluene: a wonderful substance used in many explosives, but is it safe? I believe that laws and regulations for explosives are fine as is, but we should have better laws for the manufacture of them. Why? Well first, on the note of explosives laws, people really should have no good reason to keep explosives in their households. That law is good and should stay there. On the manufacturing side of things, TNT is a very, very dangerous substance. Exposure to it can lead to many blood, liver, and skin diseases- as well as cancer. People who handle these substances should have regulations so that they can keep safe and without diseases.

What is TNT? you may ask. I'll start off with its molecular structure. As you may have already seen in the other paragraphs, TNT stands for  TriNitroToluene". To be more specific, its actual name used by scientists is 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. It means that the substance toluene is nitrated three times. Its chemical formula is C6H2(NO2)3CH3. Upon detonation, it decomposes like this: 2 C7H5N3O6 '! 3 N2 + 5 H2O + 7 CO + 7 C. [3][4]

TNT is also a very flexible explosive. It doesn't react to contact or friction in any way. Its melting temperature is far lower than its detonation temperature, making it safe to handle and to mix with other explosives. In fact, it's a useless substance on its own because it needs another explosive to be detonated. That's why it's mostly used solely in the manufacture of explosives. [1][3][4][5]

TNT was first developed by a German chemist named Joseph Wilbrand. Initially, it was used as a yellow colored dye. At that time, its potential as an explosive was not acknowledged. It was only used routinely during World War II in German artillery shells. Nowadays, TNT isn't much of a powerful explosive when compared to the modern ones of today such as the widely used C-4. It's now mainly used in the manufacture of explosives due to its flexibility. It's mixed with other explosive substances to create a powerful one. [2][5]

One bad thing about using or handling TNT is its health effects. It s most known for its skin problems. Since it was used as a dye, it changes the color of the skin of the people who handle into a yellow-orange like color. Later on, it also causes irritation of the skin. According to many tests on animals, TNT is also known to have effects on the blood and on the liver. These effects include diseases such as anemia, abnormal liver function, unhealthy immune system, enlargement of the spleen, and cataracts. Additionally, it was fabled that trinitrotoluene can be a viable cause for cancer. This can be somewhat true because of the few tests that were done on rats. The rodents that were exposed to this substance showed some tumors in the urinary system. [1][4][5]

Is it O.K. to use?:

In my own research, I found it hard to find any laws of regulations on trinitrotoluene itself. For the most part, there aren't any laws pertaining to this substance at all. Instead, I looked at laws regarding explosives as a whole. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, people cannot own or deal explosives without a proper license. People cannot handle own, or use any explosive unless they apply for a license to be able to do so. Here is a line from Title 18, United States Code, Sec. 1102, Chapter 40. Importation, Manufacture, Distribution and Storage of Explosive Materials: [3]

 842. Unlawful acts.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person

(1) to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in explosive materials without a license issued under this chapter;

Like I said before, I haven't seen any laws that specifically target trinitrotoluene. I do believe that there should be. I think the laws for explosives are already fine, but most of those laws only target the owning of explosives. I think that there should regulations to the manufacture of explosives because of the health effects that come with it. I would be most likely that explosive manufacturing companies have their own rules already; however it would be nice if we could make nationwide laws and enforce them.  Why? you may ask. Here's why:

First of all I'll go back the laws pertaining to the owning of explosives. Normal people shouldn't be even having any kind of explosive in their homes. Think about it; what good reason would a person have if you found a pile of TNT bombs in his basement? It would make sense if he was a guy who worked at a place that needed the explosion of terrain or a guy who was in the military and needed it for war. If it was a regular, sane man living in his house, then he's probably up to no good.

Going back to TNT, I do believe that there should be laws for this substance. In fact, there should be laws for the handling and manufacture of explosives in general. Explosive substances tend to have many negative effects on those who are exposed to it for long periods of time, especially TNT. Like I stated in the earlier paragraphs, TNT is well known for its harmful effects on the body- more notably on the skin and the immune system. Things such as anemia, spleen and bladder enlargement, and even death are common contenders from the exposure of this substance. People shouldn t be spending too much time around these materials, but rather they should have better times for when to handle the materials or have better protection against them.

Last thoughts:

Here is a quick recap of everything so far: TNT is an explosive substance mainly used for the manufacture of explosives. It is yellow, odorless, and it is very easy to handle. Prolonged exposure to it can cause many negative health effects on the skin and on the immune system. I believe that the laws for the use of explosives are alright as is, but the people who handle them and build them should have some safety laws at least.

Here are few of the standard regulations I may suggest:

  1. All workers should wear appropriate clothing and gear when handling explosives.
  2. Companies should always do regular health checks on their workers.
  3. Physical contact or intake of chemical explosives should be strictly prohibited.

These are just a few that I came up with. There could be more laws that are better than these if regulation really do pass.

Explosives have been and are still being very dangerous. Getting caught in an explosion from a single grenade of bomb can result in an instant death for you and the people around you. But the people who make these weapons are the ones who also need attention. They breathe, touch, and intake these chemicals everyday in their work. They can easily suffer or die if they don t get the right safety from these materials. The laws that I am suggesting may never be able to see the light of day, but I m pretty sure that if they do, many more people will be much healthier.


  1. (1995)TOXILAGICAL PROFILE FOR 2,4,6-TRINITROTOLUENE Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Retrieved from
  2. (1995)PRODUCTION, IMPORT, USE, AND DISPOSAL Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Retrieved from
  3. (2007) Federal Explosives Laws and Regulations ATF Online Retrieved from
  4. (2010)Trinitrotoluene Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Retrieved from
  5. (2008)Trinitrotoluene New World Encyclopedia Retrieved from