Agent Name

Sodium azide

CAS Number




Major Category

Other Uses


Azide; Azium; Sodium salt of hydrazoic acid; [NIOSH]




Colorless to white, odorless, crystalline solid. [pesticide] [Note: Forms hydrazoic acid (HN3) in water.]; [NIOSH]


Used as a propellant in airbags and an intermediate to produce lead azide, detonators, pesticides, preservatives, and other chemicals; [ACGIH]


Azide is a potent vasodilator that has been used as an antihypertensive drug. Disposal of sodium azide in drain pipes can cause an explosive hazard for plumbers. [ACGIH] See Merck Index # 8581. In high-dose animal studies, sodium azide causes increased fetal loss. [Frazier, p. 361-2] As used in automobile airbags, sodium azide reacts at impact to produce nitrogen gas and to fill the air bag. When poured down a drain, sodium azide reacts with water to form hydrogen azide (hydrazoic acid). It can also react with lead pipes or lead solder to form lead azide. Both of these compounds are highly explosive. The azide group (N3) has an affinity for ferric iron in mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase. Like cyanide poisoning, azide poisoning disrupts cellular aerobic metabolism. Azide solutions are alkaline and corrosive to the eyes. Patients contaminated with liquids or solid material should be washed with soap and water after removal of clothing. There are no specific antidotes for azide poisoning. [AHLS, p. 202, 218-20] Doses of 0.65-3.9 mg/day were given as an experimental hypertensive drug--hypotensive effect within 1 minute and headache was only complaint; Ingestion of several grams causes death within 1-2 hours. Sodium azide is a respiratory irritant, and dust or fumes can induce pulmonary edema. [Olson, p. 148] See "AZIDES."

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

Ceiling (ACGIH)

0.29 mg/m3, as NaN3


0.2 mg/m3, inhalable fraction

Explanatory Notes

Ceiling for sodium azide = 0.29 mg/m3; Ceiling for hydrazoic acid vapor= 0.11 ppm; [ACGIH]

Adverse Effects
Toxic Pneumonitis


Reproductive Toxin


Other Poison

Chemical Asphyxiant

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

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Biomedical References

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Other Information

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