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Ammonium Nitrate

General Description

  • Synonyms: Nitric acid, ammonium salt
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: A613
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 6484-52-2
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: BR9050000
  • Chemical Description and Physical Properties:
    • colorless, hygroscopic to white solid
    • molecular formula: NH4NO3
    • molecular weight: 80.1
    • boiling point: 210°C
    • melting point: 169°C
  • Incompatibilities: May explode under high temperatures or confinement; however, not readily detonated.

Health Factors

  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, respiratory tract, skin; cough, sore throat; headache; eye redness, pain; Ingestion Acute: Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea; weakness, dizziness, convulsions; methemoglobinemia (blue lips, fingernails or skin).
  • Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Intensity undetermined; Methemoglobinemia (HE13); Explosive (HE18).
  • Affected Organs: Respiratory system, eyes, skin, blood
  • Notes:
    1. OSHA does not have a PEL for ammonium nitrate.
    2. The 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City involved binary mixtures of ammonium nitrate with fuel oil (ANFO) and with nitromethane. More recently, occupational explosions of ammonium nitrate fertilizer have occurred in France (2001), Spain (2004), North Korea (2004) and Romania (2004).
    3. Heating ammonium nitrate at temperatures above 210 °C causes it to decompose into gases. It can also decompose explosively by detonation.
    4. The production of nitrogen dioxide during the use of ANFO in tunnel construction was thought to be a likely cause of temporary decreases in pulmonary function of the construction workers in one study.

    Date Last Revised: 04/19/2006

    Literature Basis:

    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Ammonium nitrate.
    • Bakke, B., Ulvestad, B., Stewart, P., Lund, M.B. and Eduard, W.: Effects of blasting fumes on exposure and stort-term lung function changes in tunnel construction workers. Scand. J. Work Environ. Health 27(4): 250-257, 2001.
    • Brunato, F., Garziera, M.G. and Briguglio, E.: A severe methaemoglobinemia induced by nitrates: a case report. Eur. J. Emerg. Med. 10(4): 326-330, 2003.
    • No authors: Ammonium nitrate. Wikipedia ® (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.)
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Ammonium Nitrate. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 178-179.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • tared 37-mm low-ash polyvinyl chloride filter
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gravimetric
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2121)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel can obtain tared sampling media from SLTC.
Wipe Sampling Method:
  • Whatman smear tab
  • analytical solvent: Deionized water

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