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CHEMINFO Record Number: 781
CCOHS Chemical Name: Aluminum chloride hexahydrate

Aluminium chloride hexahydrate
Aluminum chloride hydrated
Aluminum chloride, hydrous
Aluminum trichloride hexahydrate
Hydrous aluminum chloride
Trichloroaluminum hexahydrate
Aluminum chloride (non-specific name)
Chlorure d'aluminium, hexahydrate

CAS Registry Number: 7784-13-6
RTECS Number(s): BD0530000
Chemical Family: Aluminum and compounds / inorganic aluminum compound / chloride / hydrate / hexahydrate
Molecular Formula: Al-Cl3.6H20
Structural Formula: AlCl3.6H20


Appearance and Odour:
White crystalline solid. Odourless or slight odour of hydrogen chloride. Deliquescent (absorbs moisture from the air and forms wet solids or solutions).(22,23)

Odour Threshold:
Values reported for hydrogen chloride (0.255-10.06 ppm) are not reliable.(24)

Warning Properties:
NOT RELIABLE - odour threshold values reported for hydrogen chloride are not reliable.

Aluminum chloride hexahydrate reacts with moisture in the air or water to form corrosive hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid. Aluminum chloride is commercially available as anhydrous aluminum chloride, the hexahydrate and as 16.5%, 28%, and 80% solutions in water.(22) This CHEMINFO review is for aluminum chloride hexahydrate. For information on the anhydrous compound or solutions, refer to relevant CHEMINFO review. The hexahydrate is normally available in solution (a 28% aqueous solution), but is also available as a crystalline material.

Uses and Occurrences:
Used in the manufacture of special forms of alumina (aluminum oxide) and alumina-silica refractories, such as alumina fibres, finely dispersed alumina for pesticide carriers, and catalyst substrates; as a flocculant; in textile finishing; for blocking the dye-bleeding of printed textile; and in hardening of photographic layers. The hexahydrate solutions are used to treat roofing granules and mineral aggregate for bituminous products, to improve adhesion of the asphalt; to make pigmented coatings containing sodium silicate and used to colour roofing granules, insoluble; and to harden certain casting molds.(22,23)


White crystalline solid. Odourless or slight odour of hydrogen chloride. Deliquescent (absorbs moisture from the air). Will not burn. DANGEROUSLY REACTIVE. Can decompose at high temperatures or react with water to form corrosive hydrogen chloride gas or hydrochloric acid. May be CORROSIVE to the eyes and skin. May cause blindness. May cause lung injury--effects may be delayed.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

The dust reacts with moisture in the respiratory tract and in room air to form hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid, which are corrosive and irritating to the nose and throat. The severity of effects depends on the concentration of dust, the rate of the reaction and the duration of exposure. Symptoms may include severe nasal irritation, sore throat, choking, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen chloride gas (which may be formed at elevated temperatures) can cause a life-threatening accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Symptoms of pulmonary edema, such as shortness of breath, can be delayed for several hours. For more information on the effects of hydrogen chloride and hydrochloric acid, refer to the CHEMINFO reviews.

Skin Contact:
The dust can react with moisture on the skin or in the air to produce hydrochloric acid and heat. Depending on the extent and duration of contact, moderate to severe irritation or corrosive injury may result. There is no human or animal information available.
It has generally been considered that aluminum is very poorly absorbed through the skin.(1) Animal toxicity values for other aluminum salts indicate that toxic effects would not be expected following short-term skin contact.

Eye Contact:
Aluminum chloride hexahydrate dust can react with moisture in the eye to form hydrochloric acid and release heat. Depending on the extent and duration of contact moderate to severe irritation or corrosive injury may result, based on limited human information for aluminum chloride. Corrosive materials can cause permanent eye damage, including blindness.
Five cases of burns to the eyes (corneal burns) have been reported following accidental eye contact with aluminum chloride (form and concentration unspecified) in an occupational setting. Healing occurred within two days in 4/5 cases, following medical treatment. In one case, healing occurred in 3-10 days.(2)

Ingested aluminum chloride hexahydrate reacts with moisture in the mouth and throat to form corrosive hydrochloric acid. Sore throat, burns of the mouth, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea may develop. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

Nervous System:
A link between exposure to aluminum or aluminum compounds and Alzheimer's disease or other neurological diseases has been suggested. This link was suggested because of severe neurological effects which have been observed in patients receiving dialysis treatment (with dialysis fluids containing aluminum); effects seen in animals exposed to aluminum using non-occupational routes of exposure; case reports of neurological effects in individual workers; and findings of elevated aluminum levels in the brains of patients with neurological diseases. However, at present whether or not this association is a true effect is controversial and findings are inconsistent. Based on the available information, including studies of occupationally-exposed employees, recent reviewers have concluded that the evidence is inadequate to establish a link between occupational exposure to aluminum and specific effects on the nervous system or Alzheimer's disease, in normal, healthy workers.(1,3-7) One reviewer has concluded that there is a likely connection between long-term occupational exposure to aluminum and a specific effect, impaired co-ordination, but not other toxic effects on the nervous system or Alzheimer's disease.(8)

Skin Sensitization:
The available information does not suggest that aluminum chloride is an occupational sensitizer.
There is a single case report of a positive patch test in a man who developed a contact sensitivity to aluminum chloride hexahydrate in a roll-on antiperspirant. Previous history of allergies was not discussed.(37)


There is no animal or human information available for aluminum chloride hexahydrate. Negative results have been obtained for other aluminum salts in animal studies.(9)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has not assigned a carcinogenicity designation to this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
There is no human information available. Firm conclusions cannot be drawn about the potential developmental toxicity of aluminum chloride based on the available animal studies due to design limitations such as a small number of animals/group, the use of only one exposure group, incomplete reporting and/or non-standard study designs.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no animal or human information available for aluminum chloride hexahydrate. Negative results have been obtained in animal studies using anhydrous aluminum chloride.

A positive result has been obtained in cultured mammalian cells. No conclusions can be drawn based on in vivo mammalian information available for anhydrous aluminum chloride.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Aluminum is generally considered to be absorbed only to a limited degree from either the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs, and is rapidly excreted in the urine. A certain amount of tissue uptake does occur and animal experiments have shown that it can accumulate in bone.(10) One animal study has shown that aluminum chloride hexahydrate can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and can accumulate in the brain.(11) The relevance of this finding to humans is not known. In general, the degree of absorption of aluminum following ingestion has been shown to depend on the chemical form of the metal as well as the presence of other dietary constituents such as citrate, ascorbate and lactate.(12) Water solubility has not been found to be a good indicator of the degree of aluminum absorption for different aluminum compounds.(13)


Take proper precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment and use the buddy system). Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, oxygen may be beneficial if administered by trained personnel, preferably on a doctor's advice. DO NOT allow victim to move about unnecessarily. Symptoms of pulmonary edema can be delayed up to 48 hours after exposure. Immediately transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact with this chemical. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. Remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Gently blot or brush away excess chemical quickly. As quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently running water for at least 20-30 minutes, by the clock. If irritation persists, repeat flushing. DO NOT INTERRUPT FLUSHING. If necessary keep emergency vehicle waiting. Transport victim immediately to an emergency care facility. Discard contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods.

Eye Contact:
Avoid direct contact with this chemical. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. Gently blot or brush away excess chemical quickly. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 20-30 minutes, by the clock, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Neutral saline solution may be used as soon as it is available. DO NOT INTERRUPT FLUSHING. If necessary, keep emergency vehicle waiting. Take care not to rinse contaminated water into the non-affected eye. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

NEVER give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, or is unconscious or convulsing. Have victim rinse mouth thoroughly with water. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water. If milk is available, it may be administered AFTER the water has been given. If vomiting occurs naturally, rinse mouth and repeat administration of water. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest).
Consult a doctor and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all exposures except minor instances of inhalation or skin contact.
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
Not combustible

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
Not applicable

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
Not applicable

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
Not applicable

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Not sensitive. Stable metal.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Not applicable. Not combustible.

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Aluminum oxide and hydrogen chloride.(22,25)

Fire Hazard Summary:
Aluminum chloride hexahydrate does not burn or support combustion. Heating aluminum chloride hexahydrate may produce corrosive hydrogen chloride gas. Well-sealed containers may rupture violently when exposed to fire or excessive heat for sufficient time.

Extinguishing Media:
Does not burn, but reacts with water. Therefore, DO NOT use water. Otherwise, use extinguishing media appropriate for the surrounding fire.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours toxic decomposition products.
Closed containers may rupture violently when exposed to the heat of the fire. If possible, isolate materials not yet involved in the fire, and move containers from the fire area if this can be done without risk, and protect personnel. Otherwise, fire-exposed containers or tanks should be cooled by application of water spray. Application should begin as soon as possible and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. Take care not to get water inside container. Apply water from the side and from a safe distance until well after the fire is out. For a massive fire under these circumstances, it may be prudent to use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. In any case, stay away from the ends of tanks involved in the fire.

Protection of Fire Fighters:
The decomposition products of aluminum chloride hexahydrate are irritating and hazardous to health. Do not enter without wearing specialized protective equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective clothing (Bunker Gear) will not provide adequate protection. Chemical resistant clothing (e.g. chemical splash suit) and positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) may be necessary.


NFPA - Comments:
NFPA has no listing for this chemical in Codes 49 or 325.


Molecular Weight: 241.43

Conversion Factor:
Not applicable

Physical State: Solid
Melting Point: Decomposes at 100 deg C.(27,28) Heating results in the loss of hydrogen chloride.(22)
Boiling Point: Decomposes at 100 deg C.(27,28)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 2.4 (water = 1) (25,27,28)
Solubility in Water: Very soluble in cold water (133 g/100 mL at 20 deg C); dissolves exothermically (gives off heat).(23) Very soluble in hot water (produces hydrogen chloride).(27)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in absolute alcohol (50 g/100mL) and diethyl ether; slightly soluble in hydrochloric acid.(22,27)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available.
pH Value: Solutions are strongly acidic (23); 2.5-3.5 (5% aqueous solution) (29)
Vapour Density: Not applicable
Vapour Pressure: Extremely low at room temperature; 0.133 kPa (1 mm Hg) at 100 deg C (anhydrous aluminum chloride) (25,27)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Extremely low at normal temperatures.
Evaporation Rate: Not available. Probably very low at normal temperatures.
Critical Temperature: Not available


Normally stable to dry air and light; deliquescent; moisture-sensitive; reacts with moisture in air producing hydrogen chloride gas.(22,25)

Hazardous Polymerization:
Does not occur

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

WATER - dissolves exothermically (gives off heat). Heating concentrated solutions result in the production of irritating and toxic hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid.(23)
STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS - can react vigorously.
Anhydrous aluminum chloride can react violently or explosively with many inorganic and organic compounds. For a review of the many substances that react with anhydrous aluminum chloride, consult CHEMINFO record 82 and references 26 and 30.

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Hydrogen chloride and hydrochloric acid

Conditions to Avoid:
Moisture, water

Corrosivity to Metals:
Dry aluminum chloride is non-corrosive. Corrosive hydrogen chloride or hydrochloric acid will form upon contact with moisture from the air or water Therefore, in the presence of moisture, aluminum chloride is corrosive to steel, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, brass and bronze, aluminum and lead.(31)


LD50 (oral, rat): 3311 mg/kg (14)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 1990 mg/kg (14)
One study reports LD50 values for rats, guinea pigs and rabbits as 380-400 mg/kg for aluminum chloride (form unspecified).(15) These values are not considered reliable because the study was poorly reported.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Decreased food intake, decreased average daily weight gain, decreased phosphate absorption and retention, and deposits of aluminum in the liver, kidney and muscle and, minimally, in the brain were observed in lambs fed 2000 ppm (approximately 80 mg/kg/day) aluminum chloride hexahydrate for 56 days.(16) Changes in behaviour (increased activity level, excitability and increased sensitivity to flicker) and dose-related increases in aluminum level in the brain were observed in rats following oral administration of 200-600 mg/kg/day aluminum chloride hexahydrate for 28 days.(11) Subtle changes in behaviour of rats and mice have also been observed following oral administration of anhydrous aluminum chloride. No conclusions can be drawn from one poorly reported study in which rats, guinea pigs and rabbits were orally administered aluminum chloride (form unspecified) for up to 6 months.(15)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
There have been several developmental toxicity studies conducted with rats and mice orally exposed to aluminum chloride during pregnancy.(17,18,19,20,34,35,36) All of the studies are limited by a small number of animals/group. Other study limitations include the use of only one exposure group, incomplete reporting, and non-standard study designs. Therefore, firm conclusions cannot be drawn about the potential developmental toxicity of aluminum chloride.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no specific information available for aluminum chloride hexahydrate. Studies for anhydrous aluminum chloride have not shown any reproductive effects in rats and mice following oral administration.

The available information does not indicate that aluminum chloride hexahydrate is mutagenic.
Negative results (chromosomal aberrations) were obtained in studies in live animals, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits, following oral administration of anhydrous aluminum chloride. One study which showed positive results in the bone marrow cells of mice following intraperitoneal injection of anhydrous aluminum chloride cannot be evaluated since statistical analysis of the data was not conducted and the route of exposure is not considered relevant to occupational exposures.
A positive result (DNA damage) has been obtained for aluminum chloride hexahydrate in cultured mammalian cells.(21, unconfirmed)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological profile for aluminum. TP-91/01. US Department of Health and Human Services, July 1992
(2) McLaughlin, R.S. Chemical burns of the human cornea. American Journal of Ophthalmology. Vol. 29, no. 11 (Nov. 1946). p. 1355-1362
(3) Industrial Disease Standards Panel. Interim Report to the Workers' Compensation Board on Aluminum. IDSP report of findings No. 9. Toronto, Ontario, May 1992
(4) Wennberg, A. Neurotoxic effects of selected metals. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. Vol. 20, Special Issue (1994). p. 65-71
(5) Bertholf, R.L., et al. Aluminum. In: Handbook on toxicity of inorganic compounds. Edited by H.G. Seiler. Marcel Dekker, 1988. p. 56-64
(6) Martyn, C.N. The epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease in relation to aluminium. In: Aluminium in biology and medicine. Ciba Foundation Symposium 169. John Wiley and Sons, 1992. p. 69-86
(7) Sjogren, B., et al. Aluminium. Arbete och Halsa. Criteria documents from the Nordic Expert Group 1992. Edited by B. Beije, et al. No. 1 (1993)
(8) Doll, R. Review: Alzheimer's disease and environmental aluminium. Age and Aging. Vol. 22, no. 2 (Mar. 1993). p. 138-153
(9) Leonard, A., et al. Mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and teratogenicity of aluminium. Mutation Research. Vol. 196, no. 3 (Nov. 1988). p. 247-257
(10) Beliles, R.P. The metals. In: Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. Edited by G.D. Clayton, et al. 4th ed. Vol. II. Toxicology. Part C. John Wiley and Sons, 1994. p. 1880-1900
(11) Bowdler, N.C., et al. Behavioral effects of aluminum ingestion on animal and human subjects. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior. Vol. 10 (1979). p. 505-512
(12) Domingo, J.L. Reproductive and developmental toxicity of aluminum: a review. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. Vol. 17, no. 4 (July 1995). p. 515- 521
(13) Yokel, R.A. Benefit vs. risk of oral aluminum forms: antacid and phosphate binding vs. absorption. Drug and Chemical Toxicology. Vol. 12, nos. 3 and 4 (1989). p. 277-286
(14) Llobet, J.M., et al. Acute toxicity studies of aluminium compounds: antidotal efficacy of several chelating agents. Pharmacology and Toxicology. Vol. 60, no. 4 (Apr. 1987). p. 280-283
(15) Krasovskii, G.N., et al. Experimental study of biological effects of lead and aluminum following oral administration. Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 30 (June 1979). p. 47-51
(16) Valdivia, R., et al. Effect of dietary aluminum and phosphorus on performance, phosphorus utilization and tissue mineral composition in sheep. Journal of Animal Science. Vol. 55, no. 2 (1982). p. 402-410
(17) Bernuzzi, V., et al. Effects of prenatal aluminum exposure on neuromotor maturation in the rat. Neurobehavioural Toxicology and Teratology. Vol. 8, no. 2 (1986). p. 115-119
(18) Bernuzzi, V., et al. Developmental alterations in offspring of female rats orally intoxicated by aluminum chloride or lactate during gestation. Teratology. Vol. 40, no. 1 (1989). p. 21-27
(19) Cranmer, J.M., et al. Fetal-placental-maternal uptake of aluminum in mice following gestational exposure: effect of dose and route of administration. NeuroToxicology. Vol. 7, no. 2 (1986). p. 601-608
(20) Ondreika, R., et al. Chronic toxicity of aluminium in rats and mice and its effects on phosphorus metabolism. British Journal of Industrial Medicine. Vol. 23, no. 4 (Oct. 1966). p. 305-312
(21) RTECS record for aluminum chloride, hexahydrate. Last updated: 9606
(22) Grams, G.W. Aluminum compounds: aluminum halides and aluminum nitrate: aluminum chloride. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vol. 2. John Wiley and Sons, 1992. p. 281-288
(23) Stark, H., et al. Aluminum compounds, inorganic: aluminum chloride. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised ed. Vol. A 1. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1985. p. 536-541
(24) Odor thresholds for chemicals with established occupational health standards. American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1989. p. 20, 61
(25) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Ed. II. Vol. 1. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 112A
(26) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 491
(27) Weast, R.C., ed. Handbook of chemistry and physics. 66th ed. CRC Press, 1985-1986. p. B-68, D-192
(28) James, A.M., et al. Macmillan's chemical and physical data. The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1992. p. 285
(29) Fluka chemica-biochemika 1995/96. Fluka Chemie AG, 1995. p. 74
(30) Urban, P.G., ed. Bretherick's handbook of reactive chemical hazards. 5th ed. Vol. 1. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., 1995. p. 39-42
(31) Corrosion data survey: metals section. 6th ed. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 6-9 to 7-9
(32) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. NIOSH, June 1994. p. 166-167
(33) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(34) McCormack, K.M., et al. The teratogenic effects of aluminum in rats. Teratology. Vol. 17, no. 2 (1978). p. 50A
(35) McCormack, K.M., et al. Effect of prenatal administration of aluminum and parathyroid hormone on fetal development in the rat. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Vol. 161 (1979). p. 74-77
(36) Misawa, T., et al. Effects of prenatal aluminum treatment on development and behaviour in the rat. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences. Vol. 18 (1993). p. 43-48
(37) Fischer, T., et al. A case of contact sensitivity to aluminum. Contact Dermatitis. Vol. 8 (1982). p. 343
(38) International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS). Aluminum. Environmental Health Criteria 194. World Health Organization, 1997

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 1997-11-25

Revision Indicators:
Carcinogenicity 2002-10-16
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-04-06
Toxicological info 2005-01-18
Long-term exposure 2005-01-18
Teratogenicity/embryotoxicity 2005-01-18
Emergency overview 2005-01-18
WHMIS detailed classification 2005-01-18
WHMIS proposed classification 2005-01-18
WHMIS disclosure list 2005-01-18
WHMIS health effects 2005-01-18
Bibliography 2005-01-18
Handling 2005-03-29
TLV proposed changes 2007-04-12

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