ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




None known.
Colourless to white hygroscopic crystals or granules.
Ammonium nitrate reacts violently or explodes with metal powders, chlorides, organic matter, phosphorus, sodium hypochlorite and sodium perchlorate. Also reacts violently with combustible substances and spontaneously combusts with reducing agents.
Heating produces toxic fumes of nitrogen compounds.
This substance is hygroscopic and a strong oxidising agent. Whilst it is not a combustible substance it nevertheless enhances combustion of other substances. It is an eye, skin and respiratory tract irritant, an allergen and toxic. It may be absorbed into the body by inhalation and ingestion. After ingestion blood disorders may occur. Serious cases may result in coma and death. Skin and eye contact produces localised redness and pain. Inhalation can produce a sore throat, coughing and shortness of breath. Ingestion may cause dizziness, abdominal spasm, nausea, vomiting, faintness, weakness, convulsions, bluish skin and collapse.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of the powder.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from moisture.
Keep away from combustible substances.
Keep away from reducing agents.
Keep away from metal powders.
Keep away from strong bases.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Wear protective clothing to avoid skin or eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Skin ­ remove contaminated clothing and immediately wash the affected area with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If pain persists seek medical attention. Wash contaminated clothing before re­use.
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation or pain persist seek medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. Seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give two to four glasses of water to drink. Induce vomiting by touching a finger to the back of the throat. Seek immediate medical attention.
Keep the container lid tightly closed and store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from moisture, heat and incompatible substances.
Wear rubber gloves, safety glasses and laboratory coat.
SPILLS: Solid - small spill. Collect in a beaker, dissolve in a large amount of water. Add soda ash, mix and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with large excess of water.
Solution - cover with soda ash, mix and scoop into a beaker of water. Neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with a large excess of water.
PACKAGE LOTS: Add slowly to a large container of water. Stir in a slight excess of soda ash. Let stand for 24 hours. Decant or siphon into another container and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid. Dispose of by waste disposal contractor. The sludge may be added to land fill.
This substance is a pollutant and should be contained.


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