Anhydrous ammonia is a slightly flammable, highly corrosive gas or colorless liquid under pressure. It has a sharp, permeating odor and is severely irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Ammonia readily dissolves in water to form a caustic solution.
Skin Contact: Liquified ammonia may cause frostbite upon exposure. Ammonia hydrolyzes very rapidly and will form corrosive ammonium hydroxide on moist tissues and mucus membranes. Flush affected area with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes. Seek medical attention immediately.
Eye Contact: Ammonia is corrosive and irritating to the eyes. Flush contaminated eye(s) immediately with copious quantities of water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Seek medical attention immediately.
Inhalation: Ammonia is a severe respiratory tract irritant. Inhalation may cause coughing, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and difficulty breathing. It may also cause pulmonary edema (build-up of fluid in the lungs) which may be delayed by several hours and can be fatal.
Ingestion: Not a relevant route of exposure for gases.
Materials made of copper, zinc, tin, iron and most of their alloys will corrode in the presence of ammonium hydroxide solutions. Systems must be kept dry. Aluminum, stainless steel and Hastelloy are most recommended for gaseous and liquified ammonia systems.
Ammonia is incompatible with halogens, halogenated acids and salts, strong oxidizers and acids. Ammonia will react violently with acetaldehyde, ethylene dichloride, trichloramine. Exposure to acrolein, ethylene oxide results in explosive polymerization reactions. Heavy metals such as silver, mercury (and their compounds) form shock sensitive explosive byproducts when contaminated with ammonia.
Wear chemical splash goggles, a lab coat, and 15 mil Nitrile gloves to prevent eye and skin exposure. Use only in well-ventilated areas, vented gas storage cabinets, or fume hoods.
Consider using leak detection and alarm systems. Follow all applicable recommendations for storage and handling of compressed gases.
Ammonia cylinders should be returned to the compressed gas distributor when emptied or no longer used.