How It Works
Glow sticks give off light when two solutions are mixed. The sticks consist of a small, brittle container within a flexible outer container. Each container holds a unique solution. When the outer container is flexed, the inner container breaks, allowing the solutions to combine, causing the necessary chemical reaction. After breaking, the tube is shaken to thoroughly mix the two components.
Glow sticks contain hydrogen peroxide and phenol is produced as a byproduct. It is advisable to keep the mixture away from skin and to prevent accidental ingestion if the glow stick case splits or breaks. If spilled on skin, the chemicals could cause slight skin irritation, swelling, or, in extreme circumstances, vomiting and nausea. Some of the chemicals used in older glow sticks were thought to be potential carcinogens. The sensitizers used are polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, a class of compounds known for their carcinogenity.
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