Toxic Gases & Vapors
Anhydrous ammonia; Aqua ammonia; Aqueous ammonia [Note: Often used in an aqueous solution.] [NIOSH] UN1005
Colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. [Note: Shipped as a liquefied compressed gas. Easily liquefied under pressure.] [NIOSH] Vapor density = 0.59 (lighter than air); [HSDB]
"About 80% is used in fertilizers; it also is used as a refrigerant gas, and in the manufacture of plastics, explosives, pesticides, detergents, and other chemicals. Small amounts of ammonia occur naturally from decomposition of organic matter." [ATSDR Medical Management] Also used in illicit methamphetamine labs; Anhydrous ammonia is the most commonly reported agent in accidental spill or release incidents. [PMID 19225422]
Liquid causes first degree burns on short exposure; [CHRIS] Ammonia gas and liquid are corrosive to skin. [Quick CPC] Can cause contact urticaria; [Kanerva 2004, p. 103] Ingestion of industrial strength ammonia (27-30%) causes esophageal burns with liquefaction necrosis and the possibility of later perforation and stricture formation. Inhalation of concentrated ammonia can cause acute lung injury. Household ammonia (5-10%) is not likely to cause serious burns. [HSDB] "The concentration of aqueous ammonia solutions for household use is typically 5% to 10% (weight:volume), but solutions for commercial use may be 25% (weight:volume) or more and are corrosive." [ATSDR Medical Management] Listed as one of "major irritant airborne toxicants"; [LaDou, p. 523] The following chemicals can release ammonia when spilled in water: Lithium nitride & Magnesium diamide. Ammonia solutions with more than 50% ammonia are classified as TIH (Toxic Inhalation Hazard). [ERG 2012] Ammonia is fibrogenic to the lungs in the context of an acute inhalation exposure complicated by bronchiolitis obliterans.
|Skin Designation (ACGIH)|
|Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs|
Other human data: The maximum short exposure tolerance has been reported as being 300 to 500 ppm for 0.5 to 1 hour [Henderson and Haggard 1943]. A change in respiration rate and moderate to severe irritation has been reported in 7 subjects exposed to 500 ppm for 30 minutes [Silverman et al. 1946].
|Odor Threshold Low|
|Odor Threshold High|
Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 17 ppm); The Guide from the Emergency Response Guidebook is for "Anhydrous ammonia" or "Ammonia solution, with more than 50% Ammonia."
Whole body (following ingestion): 1-2 days; [TDR, p. 88]
|Links to Other NLM Databases|
Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:
|Related Information in HazMap|
Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:
Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:
Activities with risk of exposure: