Agent Name

Lithium

CAS Number

7439-93-2

Formula

Li

Major Category

Metals

Category

Elements, Metallic

Description

Silvery white solid; Becomes yellowish or gray when exposed to moist air; [CHEMINFO]

Sources/Uses

Used to manufacture alloys, greases, ceramics, batteries, aircraft fuel, and organic chemicals; Used as a fuel and heat-transfer fluid in the nuclear power industry and as a scavenger for oxygen and sulfur; Dietary intake estimated at 2mg/day; Lithium salts are used as drugs in the treatment of bipolar depression. [CHEMINFO]

Comments

Reacts with air; Reacts with water to form explosive hydrogen gas and corrosive lithium hydroxide; [CHEMINFO] Lithium poisoning is most common in patients in long-term treatment with renal impairment. The usual daily dose is 300 to 2400 mg. The therapeutic serum level is 0.6-1.2 mEq/L. Lithium intoxication may occur in lithium-treated patients who develop acute gastroenteritis, take thiazide diuretics, or use NSAIDs or ACE inhibitors. Common symptoms of lithium intoxication are lethargy, weakness, slurred speech, ataxia, tremor, and myoclonic jerks which may progress to delirium, seizures, hyperthermia, and coma. Diagnosis is supported by an elevated lithium level, but the degree of elevation does not predict the degree of toxicity. [Olson, p. 260-1] There is evidence from pharmacologic use that lithium is nephrotoxic. [Rosenstock, p. 572] "Not being protein bound, Li is rapidly eliminated by the kidneys, with almost no tissue accumulation." Side effects in patients treated with lithium include reduced urinary concentration capacity, hypothyroidism, and neurotoxicity. [Nordberg, p. 969] MAK TWA is for "Lithium compounds, inorganic, as Li, except of Li and highly irritating lithium compounds (as lithium amide, hydride, hydroxide, nitride, oxide, tetrahydroalumininate, tetrahydroborate);" [MAK]

Exposure Assessment
Explanatory Notes

Melting point = 180.5 deg C (357 deg F); Boiling point = 1336 deg C (2437 deg F); [CHEMINFO]

Half Life

Eliminated by the kidney with a half-life of 14-30 hours; [Olson, p. 260]

Flammability (NFPA)

2: High ambient temperature required

Adverse Effects
Neurotoxin

Other CNS Neurotoxin

Nephrotoxin

Yes

Dermatotoxin

Skin Burns

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