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CHEMINFO Record Number: 87
CCOHS Chemical Name: Ammonium chloride

Ammonium muriate
Sal ammonia
Sal ammoniac

Chemical Name French: Chlorure d'ammonium
Chemical Name Spanish: Cloruro de amonio
CAS Registry Number: 12125-02-9
RTECS Number(s): BP4550000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 235-186-4
Chemical Family: Inorganic ammonium compound / ammonium salt / chloride
Molecular Formula: Cl-H4-N
Structural Formula: NH4+.Cl-


Appearance and Odour:
Odourless, colourless crystals or white, granular powder; slightly hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).(6)

Odour Threshold:

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Uses and Occurrences:
Used as an electrolyte in dry-cell batteries; to make quarrying explosives; as a component of soldering flux; in zinc and tin plating; for electrolytic refining of zinc; as a hardener for formaldehyde-based adhesives; as a flame suppressant; in etching solutions; as a fertilizer; as a mordant in dyeing and printing; in the manufacture of ammonium compounds; as a rapid fixer additive in photography; in freezing mixtures; for cleaning soldering irons; in pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicine; in washing powders; for snow treatment; to manufacture dyes; in tanning; in cement for iron pipes and in bakery products.(6,14)


Odourless, colourless, slightly hygroscopic crystals or white, granular powder. Will not burn. Can decompose at high temperatures forming irritating and toxic ammonia and hydrogen chloride gases. Practically non-toxic.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

High concentrations of dust may cause coughing and mild, temporary irritation. Ammonium chloride fumes or mist can probably cause irritation of the nose, throat and lungs, with symptoms such as sore throat and coughing. There is no animal or human information available.

Skin Contact:
Ammonium chloride dust or solutions are probably mildly irritating. There is no human or animal information available.

Eye Contact:
Ammonium chloride is probably a mild eye irritant, based on limited animal information. Some tearing, blinking and mild irritation may occur as the dust is rinsed from the eye by tears. In humans, 5% to 10% solutions of ammonium chloride have occasionally been used to irrigate the eye in treatment of chemical burns, and no injury has been attributed to treatment.(1)

Ingestion of approximately 100 mg/kg has caused mild metabolic acidosis in humans.(2,3) Larger doses have caused severe metabolic acidosis with symptoms such as headache, drowsiness, vomiting and confusion.(4) Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

Respiratory Sensitization:
There is a case report of two workers developing asthmatic symptoms after performing soldering work with a flux containing ammonium and zinc chlorides. One of the cases is not relevant due to the presence of pre-existing allergies. Tests for the other worker showed a positive allergic response after a 10- or 15-minute exposure to the flux heated to 350 deg C. A challenge with ammonium chloride heated to 350 deg C produced a smaller immediate positive response, as well as a delayed response. There was no response observed after exposure to zinc chloride heated to 350 deg C.(5) This report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that ammonium chloride is a respiratory sensitizer.

Repeated or prolonged contact will probably cause dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin)


There is no animal or human information available.

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

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
There is no human information available. Ammonium chloride has not produced significant effects in mice, even at maternally toxic doses.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no animal or human information available.

There is no information available on humans or human cell cultures. Positive results have been obtain in a test using cultured mammalian cells and negative results in a bacterial test.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no relevant information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Unlikely to accumulate. The ammonium and chloride ions are found naturally in the body. Ammonium chloride is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is metabolized in the liver to form urea and hydrochloric acid which are excreted in the urine.(6)


If symptoms occur, remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. Obtain medical advice immediately.

Skin Contact:
No health effects are expected. If irritation does occur, flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes or until the chemical is removed. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice.

Eye Contact:
Do not allow victim to rub eye(s). Let the eye(s) water naturally for a few minutes. Have victim look right and left, and then up and down. If particle/dust does not dislodge, flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes or until particle/dust is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation persists, obtain medical attention. DO NOT attempt to manually remove anything stuck to the eye(s).

If irritation or discomfort occur, obtain medical advice immediately. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water to dilute material in stomach.

First Aid Comments:
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its condition of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
Not combustible (does not burn).

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 material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Information not available. Probably not sensitive

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Ammonia and hydrogen chloride.(6)

Fire Hazard Summary:
Ammonium chloride is non-combustible (does not burn) and does not support combustion. However, it decomposes at high temperatures forming irritating/toxic ammonia and hydrogen chloride gases.

Extinguishing Media:
Use extinguishing media appropriate to surrounding fire conditions. Most extinguishing agents may be used on fires involving ammonium chloride.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Ammonium chloride does not burn and does not support combustion.
Isolate ammonium chloride containers not involved in the fire, if this can be done without risk. Move containers from the fire area only if they have not been exposed to heat. Use extreme caution since decomposition may occur under fire conditions and heat may rupture containers. If it is not possible to move containers, apply water from as far a distance as possible, in flooding quantities, to keep fire-exposed containers cool and absorb heat, and protect personnel. If necessary, use unmanned monitors and hoseholders to keep cooling streams of water on fire-exposed tanks or containers until well after the fire is out. Dike water used in fire control for later disposal.
The decomposition products of ammonium chloride, such as ammonia and hydrogen chloride are extremely hazardous to health. Do not enter without wearing specialized protective equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective equipment (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: 53.49

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 2.18 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.46 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Solid
Melting Point: Sublimes at 340 deg C (644 deg F) (15)
Boiling Point: 520 deg C (968 deg F) (6,16)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 1.53 at 20 deg C (15,17); 1.52 at 25 deg C (16) (water=1)
Solubility in Water: Very soluble (37.2 g/100 mL at 20 deg C) (14)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Very soluble in liquid ammonia; soluble in methanol; slightly soluble in ethanol; almost insoluble in acetone, diethyl ether and ethyl acetate.(6,17)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available
pH Value: 5.5 (1% aqueous solution); 5.1 (3%); 5.0 (10%) at 25 deg C (6,16)
Acidity: Weak acid (6); Solutions become more acidic on standing through loss of ammonia.(14)
Vapour Density: 1.8 (air = 1) (18)
Vapour Pressure: Very low (6,15)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable at room temperature
Evaporation Rate: Does not form a vapour


Normally stable

Hazardous Polymerization:
Will 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.

STRONG ACIDS - may evolve hydrogen chloride gas.(16,18)
ALKALIS and their CARBONATES - may evolve ammonia gas.(16,18)
INTERHALOGENS (e.g. bromine trifluoride, bromine pentafluoride or iodine heptafluoride) - may cause a violent reaction, fire and explosion.(16,19,20)
STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. nitrates) - may react violently and explosively.(18,21)
AMMONIUM NITRATE - reacts violently at high temperatures, liberating chlorine.(19)
HYDROGEN CYANIDE - may form explosive nitrogen trichloride.(16,20)
POTASSIUM CHLORATE - may cause violent explosion, due to formation of unstable ammonium chlorate.(19,20)
LEAD SALTS or SILVER SALTS - may form shock-sensitive explosive salts, lead or silver nitride.(16)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:

Conditions to Avoid:
High temperatures

Corrosivity to Metals:
Corrosive to ferrous metals (e.g. gray cast iron and steel), aluminum, and copper and its alloys (e.g. brass and bronze).(14,17,22) It is corrosive to most metals at fire temperatures.(16)


LD50 (oral, rat): 1650 mg/kg (7, unconfirmed)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 1300 mg/kg (7, unconfirmed)

Eye Irritation:

Administration of 500 mg/24 hours in rabbits in a standard Draize test produced mild irritation.(7, unconfirmed) No conclusions can be drawn from a series of experiments where ammonium chloride solutions were used to replace the aqueous humor of the eye.(1)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Exposure to high dietary levels (up to 3590 mg/kg/day) for up to 15 weeks has caused reduced body weight, increased kidney weight, metabolic acidosis and hyperplasia of the bladder epithelium in rats.(8,9) Bladder effects (tumours, increased cell growth and stones) were not observed in female mice fed 1% ammonium chloride in drinking water for their lifespan.(10)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
Ammonium chloride has not produced significant effects in mice, even at doses which were maternally toxic.(11) No conclusions can be drawn from a poorly designed and evaluated study using rats.(12)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Grant, W.M., et al. Toxicology of the Eye. 4th edition. Charles C. Thomas, 1993. p. 131-132
(2) Davies, H.E.F. Acidification of urine: normal response to ammonium chloride. British Journal of Pharmacology. Vol. 33 (March 28-29, 1968). p. 207P-208P
(3) Bushinsky, D.A., et al. Hyperkalemia during acute ammonium chloride acidosis in man. Nephron. Vol. 40 (1985). p. 38-40
(4) Relman, A.S., et al. Profound acidosis resulting from excessive ammonium chloride in previously healthy subjects: a study of two cases. The New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 264, no. 17 (April 27, 1961). p. 848-852
(5) Weir, D.C., et al. Occupational asthma due to soft corrosive soldering fluxes containing zinc chloride and ammonium chloride. Thorax. Vol. 44, no. 3 (March, 1989). p. 220-223
(6) HSDB database record for ammonium chloride. Date of last update: 9501
(7) RTECS database record for ammonium chloride. Date of last update: 9510.
(8) De Groot, A.P., et al. Induction of hyperplasia in the bladder epithelium of rats by a dietary excess of acid or base: Implications for toxicity/carcinogenicity testing. Food Chemistry Toxicology. Vol. 26, no. 5 (1988). p. 425-434
(9) Lotspeich, W.D. Renal hypertrophy in metabolic acidosis and its relation to ammonia excretion. American Journal of Physiology. Vol. 208 (1965). p. 1135-1142
(10) Flaks, A., et al. The influence of ammonium chloride on the induction of bladder tumours by 4-ethylsulphonylnaphthalene-1- sulphonamide. British Journal of Cancer. Vol. 31, no 5 (1975). p. 585-587
(11) Weaver, T.E., et al. Acetazolamide teratogenesis: interaction of maternal metabolic and respiratory acidosis in the induction of ectrodactyly in C57BL/6J mice. Teratology. Vol. 30 (1984). p. 195-202
(12) Goldman, A.S., et al. Salicylate intoxication and congenital anomalies. Archives of Environmental Health. Vol. 8 (May, 1994). p. 648-656
(13) Ishidate, M. Jr., et al. Primary mutagenicity screening of food additives currently used in Japan. Food Chemistry Toxicology. Vol. 22, no. 8 (1984). p. 623-636
(14) Weston, C.W. Ammonium compounds: ammonium halides: ammonium chloride. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th edition. Volume 2. John Wiley & Sons, 1992. p. 695-698
(15) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Volume 1. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 233D
(16) Materials safety data sheets collection: sheet no. 21: ammonium chloride. Genium Publishing Corporation, 1991
(17) Zapp, K-H, et al. Ammonium compounds: ammonium chloride. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised edition. Vol. A 2. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1985. p. 256-261, 263-265
(18) Chemical safety sheets: working safely with hazardous chemicals. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991. p. 46
(19) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 11th edition. National Fire Protection Association, 1994. NFPA 491
(20) Urben, P.G., ed. Bretherick's handbook of reactive chemical hazards. 5th edition. Volume 1. Butterworth-Heinemann, 1995. p. 1259
(21) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, June 1994. p. 16-17
(22) Corrosion data survey. Metals section. 6th edition. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 10-11
(23) European Economic Community. Commission Directive 93/72/EEC. September 1, 1993
(24) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ammonia in Workplace Atmospheres - Solid Sorbent. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>
(25) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ammonia in Workplace Atmospheres. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at:>
(26) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Chlorine and Bromine. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>
(27) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated, Total. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>
(28) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated, Respirable. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. Available at: <>

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: 1996-06-24

Revision Indicators:
TDG 2002-06-11
PEL-TWA final 2003-12-04
PEL-STEL final 2003-12-04
Bibliography 2005-03-12
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-12
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-12

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