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Talk:Nitrogen oxide

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NOx is actually a mixture of several nitrogen-oxygen compounds, including NO, NO2, N2O, etc. Neither nitrogen nor oxygen alone are toxic. Yes, there are elements in the compounds, but it's not elemental oxygen or nitrogen that are the problem, it's the nitrogenous compounds. -- Renegade54 16:47, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Many different compounds may be classified as nitrogen oxide but any given one of those compounds is composed of elements, not a mixture of compounds. Unless we are certain that the mixture released was multiple compounds and not a specific NO compound then it should say elements or language that indicates it could be a single compound of elements, or a mixture of other compounds. Logan 5 21:27, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Let me start off by saying that I'm a chemist by training, so I do know the subject matter pretty well. Nitrogen oxide, as a discreet compound, doesn't exist, at least not in chemical terms. There are a number of compounds that are nitrogen oxides, and thus could be called "nitrogen oxide". For example, there's nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrous oxide, more commonly known as "laughing gas" (N2O), dinitrogen trioxide (N2O3), dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4), dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5), and others. All are present in auto and other emissions produced by combustion and contribute to the phenomenon we call "smog". Collectively they're known as nitrogen oxides, or NOx. The last 3 aren't stable, so they don't hang around long enough to be a problem. The first 2, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, are the toxic ones. They are all composed of nitrogen and oxygen. It doesn't matter which were released, it's still not accurate to use the word element in this context. Neither elemental oxygen nor elemental nitrogen is present in nature (or as a product of combustion). Oxygen occurs as O2, and nitrogen as N2, both of which are still compounds, and neither of which is toxic. This is how the first paragraph of the article should read to be accurate:

Nitrogen oxide (frequently abbreviated NOx) refers to one or more gaseous nitrogen-oxygen compounds that are toxic to many species, including Humans, when concentrated in sufficient quantities.

-- Renegade54 23:13, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification, my chemistry years are a bit behind me. I think your new intro sentence is much more specific about the nature of NOx than any of the edits so far. Your first correction left in the wording "combination of compounds" that I read literally, hence my edit. But I prefer yours. Logan 5 01:20, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Cool, glad we could come to an agreement! :) -- Renegade54 14:08, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

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