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SECTION 1. CHEMICAL IDENTIFICATION

CHEMINFO Record Number: 426
CCOHS Chemical Name: Lithium hypochlorite

Synonyms:
Hypochlorous acid, lithium salt
LiOCl
Lithium chloride oxide
Lithium oxychloride

Chemical Name French: Hypochlorite de lithium
CAS Registry Number: 13840-33-0
UN/NA Number(s): 1471
RTECS Number(s): NH3486000
Chemical Family: Inorganic halogen oxygen acid salt / inorganic halogen oxo acid salt / chlorine oxygen acid salt / chlorine oxo acid salt / hypochlorous acid salt / hypochlorite / inorganic lithium compound / lithium salt
Molecular Formula: Cl-Li-O
Structural Formula: Li.OCl

SECTION 2. DESCRIPTION

Appearance and Odour:
White powder with a faint chlorine odour; the anhydrous form is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).(3) The technical product is white granules with a chlorine odour.

Odour Threshold:
Not applicable. Odour is due to decomposition products such as chlorine.

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Composition/Purity:
Lithium hypochlorite exists in both the anhydrous and monohydrate forms. The technical grade normally contains approximately 30-35% lithium hypochlorite, 34% sodium chloride, 20% sodium and potassium sulfates, 3% lithium chloride, 3% lithium chlorate, 2% lithium hydroxide, 1% lithium carbonate and 7% water.(1,3)

Uses and Occurrences:
Lithium hypochlorite has limited uses as a disinfectant and bleaching agent for swimming pools and spas and in food preparation areas (e.g. dairies and butcher shops); and in dry laundry bleaches.(1,3,7,8)


SECTION 3. HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION

EMERGENCY OVERVIEW:
White powder with a faint chlorine odour; the anhydrous form is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air). The technical product is white granules with a chlorine odour. Does not burn. Decomposes when heated, during a fire, upon contact with acids releasing corrosive chlorine gas. During a fire, corrosive hydrogen chloride gas and oxygen may also be generated. MILD to MODERATE OXIDIZER. Promotes combustion. Contact with combustible materials may cause fire. Reacts with primary and aromatic amines, ammonia and ammonium salts to form explosively unstable compounds. CORROSIVE to the eyes and skin. May cause blindness and permanent scarring.



POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Inhalation:
Lithium hypochlorite solutions slowly decompose on contact with air and release corrosive chlorine gas. The amount of chlorine released depends on the concentration of the solution, pH, temperature, light and impurities.(3,6) If mixed with acids or warmed to higher temperatures, significant concentrations of chlorine gas are released. Chlorine can cause severe irritation of the nose, throat and lungs. Severe lung damage and even death could result, depending on the airborne concentration. Refer to the CHEMINFO review of chlorine for more information.
Lithium hypochlorite dust or mists formed from concentrated solutions is probably at least irritating to the nose and throat, based comparison to a closely related chemical, sodium hypochlorite.
There is no human or animal information available for lithium hypochlorite.

Skin Contact:
Lithium hypochlorite in solid form and in concentrated solutions is probably at least irritating to moist skin, and can probably cause corrosive injury, based on information for a closely related compound, sodium hypochlorite. The degree of hazard depends on the duration of contact and the concentration of the solution. Corrosive materials can cause burns, blistering and permanent scarring. There is no human or animal information available for lithium hypochlorite.
Lithium compounds are not absorbed through the skin to a significant degree.(2)

Eye Contact:
Lithium hypochlorite dust and concentrated solutions are probably at least irritating to the eye, and can probably cause corrosive injury, based on information for a closely related compound, sodium hypochlorite. The degree of injury depends on the concentration of solution, and the duration of contact. In general, corrosive materials can cause permanent eye damage, including blindness. There is no human or animal information available for lithium hypochlorite.
Lithium hypochlorite solutions decompose slowly on contact with air and release chlorine gas. If mixed with acids or warmed to higher temperatures, significant concentrations of chlorine are released. Chlorine is severely irritating to the eyes at concentrations of 1 ppm and higher.

Ingestion:
Some lithium compounds (carbonate and citrate) have been used therapeutically to treat psychiatric diseases. Overdoses have resulted in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, central nervous system effects, kidney injury and death. Ingestion of other hypochlorite solutions has caused coughing, choking, vomiting and injury to the esophagus and/or stomach.(9) There is no animal or human information available for lithium hypochlorite. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

There is no human or animal information for lithium hypochlorite. Lithium compounds have been used therapeutically over long periods of time to treat psychiatric diseases. There is information available regarding side effects. However, the doses used are high and are not relevant to occupational exposures.

Carcinogenicity:

There is no human or animal information available for lithium hypochlorite.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that this chemical is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3).

This IARC evaluation is for hypochlorite salts in general and the IARC conclusions are based on the fact that there is inadequate evidence in animals and no human information available.(1)

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has no listing for this chemical.

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

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
There is no specific human information available for lithium hypochlorite. One animal study has shown that lithium hypochlorite can produce fetotoxicity (e.g. reduced weight) in the presence of significant toxicity in the mother.
Certain lithium compounds are used therapeutically to treat psychiatric disorders. The doses used are high and are not relevant to occupational exposures. A recent review has concluded that lithium compounds used at therapeutic dose levels can cause teratogenic effects (major malformations, particularly in the heart) and possibly increased risk of death in newborns, based on human and animal information.(2,11) Once absorbed into the body, lithium can cross the placenta and can enter the mother's milk.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no specific information for lithium hypochlorite. No firm conclusions can be drawn from a few human reports indicating a possible effect of other lithium compounds on men. These studies are limited by factors such as the small number of men studied and self-reporting bias.(2) Similarly, no firm conclusions can be drawn from studies of lithium using experimental animals.

Mutagenicity:
There is no human information available. Animal and in vitro evidence suggests that lithium hypochlorite is not mutagenic.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Following ingestion, the lithium ion is readily absorbed into the body from the gastrointestinal system and is distributed evenly throughout the body. It does not accumulate in the body and is excreted in urine. The lithium ion can cross the placenta and pass freely into breast milk.(2)


SECTION 4. FIRST AID MEASURES

Inhalation:
Can release corrosive chlorine gas. Take proper precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment, 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. Avoid mouth-to-mouth contact by using mouth guards or shields. Immediately transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective clothing, if necessary. Flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 20-30 minutes, by the clock. Under running water, remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). If irritation persists, repeat flushing. DO NOT INTERRUPT FLUSHING. If necessary, keep emergency vehicle waiting. Immediately transport victim to an emergency care facility. Discard contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods.

Eye Contact:
Avoid direct contact. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 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 unaffected eye or onto the face. If irritation persists, repeat flushing. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Ingestion:
NEVER give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, 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 to dilute material in stomach. 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.
Some recommendations in the above sections may be considered medical acts in some jurisdictions. These recommendations should be reviewed with a doctor and appropriate delegation of authority obtained, as required.
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.



SECTION 5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES

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

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Lithium hypochlorite will not accumulate static charge. Since it does not burn, it will not be ignited by a static discharge.

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Chlorine, hydrogen chloride gas, oxygen gas and lithium oxides.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Not combustible (does not burn). However, lithium hypochlorite is a strong oxidizing agent (can support combustion) and can increase the risk of fire or the intensity of a fire. Dry lithium hypochlorite decomposes above 100 deg C to give off oxygen, which can form an oxygen rich atmosphere and promote combustion.(8) Lithium hypochlorite is a serious fire and explosion hazard when contaminated with oxidizable, combustible, or organic materials (e.g. cloth, greases, leather, oils and solvents, paper, sawdust, rubber, plastics and wood), and may be ignited readily by heat, and may spontaneously burn or explode. It decomposes explosively under intense fire conditions and closed containers may rupture violently due to rapid decomposition, if exposed to fire or excessive heat for a sufficient period of time. DO NOT heat any part of a lithium hypochlorite container to 49 deg C (120 deg F).(15) During a fire, corrosive chlorine and hydrogen chloride gases may be generated.

Extinguishing Media:
Lithium hypochlorite does not burn. Extinguish fire using extinguishing agents suitable for the surrounding fire and not contraindicated for use with lithium hypochlorite. Lithium hypochlorite is an oxidizing agent. Therefore, flooding quantities of water spray or fog should be used to fight fires involving lithium hypochlorite.

Extinguishing Media to be Avoided:
DO NOT use dry chemical fire extinguishing agents containing ammonium compounds (such as some A:B:C agents), since an explosive compound can be formed. DO NOT use carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder or other extinguishing agents that smother flames, since they are not effective in extinguishing fires involving oxidizers.(15)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Extreme caution is required in a fire situation. Evacuate area and fight fire from a protected, explosion-resistant location or maximum possible distance. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous decomposition products.
If possible, isolate materials not involved in the fire, if this can be done without risk, and protect personnel. If lithium hypochlorite is not involved in the fire, move lithium hypochlorite containers from the fire area only if they have not been exposed to heat. Use extreme caution since explosive decomposition can occur under fire conditions and heat may rupture containers and release large amounts of oxygen. Otherwise, apply water from as far a distance as possible, in flooding quantities as a spray or fog to keep fire-exposed containers or equipment cool and absorb heat, until well after the fire is out. DO NOT get water inside containers.
Remove all flammable and combustible materials from the vicinity, especially oil and grease. Do not direct water directly on leak as this may cause leak to increase. Stay away from ends of tanks, but realize that shrapnel may travel in any direction. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discolouration of tanks due to fire. In an advanced or massive fire, the area should be evacuated. Use unmanned hoseholders or monitor nozzles.
Tanks or drums should not be approached directly after they have been involved in a fire or heated by exposure, until they have been completely cooled down. Clean-up or salvage operations should not be attempted until the lithium hypochlorite is cooled.

Protection of Fire Fighters:
The decomposition products of lithium hypochlorite, such as chlorine 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.



NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA) HAZARD IDENTIFICATION

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


SECTION 9. PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL PROPERTIES

Molecular Weight: 58.4

Conversion Factor:
Not applicable

Physical State: Solid
Melting Point: Decomposes above 100 deg C to give off oxygen.(8)
Boiling Point: Not applicable (decomposes above 100 deg C to give off oxygen).(8)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): Not available
Solubility in Water: Very soluble (approximately 40% at 25 deg C) (3)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Not available. Reacts with some organic solvents.
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available
pH Value: 10.8 (10% solution); 11.1 (40% solution) (calculated)
Vapour Density: Not applicable
Vapour Pressure: Probably very low; probably almost zero.
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable
Evaporation Rate: Not available; probably almost zero
Critical Temperature: Not applicable

SECTION 10. STABILITY AND REACTIVITY

Stability:
Normally stable. At normal temperatures, reacts slowly with moist air or carbon dioxide (also present in the air) to give off low concentrations of corrosive chlorine gas. Decomposition is influenced by temperature, concentration, pH, ionic strength, exposure to light and the presence of metals, such as copper, nickel or cobalt, metal oxides, such as rust, and other impurities, such as acids and amines.(1,3,6)

Oxidizing Properties:
The NFPA lists lithium hypochlorite (39 percent or less available chlorine) as a Class 1 oxidizer and lithium hypochlorite (more than 39 percent available chlorine) as a Class 2 oxidizer. A Class 1 oxidizer is an oxidizer whose primary hazard is that it slightly increases the burning rate but does not cause spontaneous ignition when it comes in contact with combustible materials. A Class 2 oxidizer will cause a moderate increase in the burning rate or cause spontaneous ignition of combustible materials with which it comes in contact.(15) Lithium hypochlorite releases oxygen when exposed to sunlight.(3) Dry lithium hypochlorite decomposes above 100 deg C giving off oxygen.(8)

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.


FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS - increased risk of fire and explosion in contact with lithium hypochlorite.(15)
ACIDS (especially hydrochloric acid) - contact releases corrosive chlorine gas.(3)
AMMONIUM SALTS (e.g. ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate), AMMONIA, UREA or PHENYLACETONITRILE - form explosive nitrogen trichloride, if acid is present.(16)
PRIMARY AMINES (e.g. ethylamine) and AROMATIC AMINES (e.g. aniline) - react to form explosively unstable N-mono- or di-chloramines.(16)
REDUCING AGENTS (e.g. hydrides, such as lithium aluminum hydride) - cause a violent reaction.
FINELY POWDERED METALS (especially copper, nickel and cobalt) - speed up the decomposition of lithium hypochlorite to oxygen.(3)
ETHYLENEIMINE (AZIRIDINE) - form the explosive N-chloroethyleneimine.(16)
METHANOL - can form explosive methyl hypochlorite, especially in the presence of acids or other etherification catalysts.(16)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Chlorine, oxygen, lithium chlorate, lithium chloride.(3)

Conditions to Avoid:
Heat, sunlight, moisture/high humidity, acidic conditions, the presence of metals and other impurities.

Corrosivity to Metals:
Lithium hypochlorite solutions (10%) are corrosive to many metals including steel, gray cast iron, stainless steels (types 304, 12 Cr and 17 Cr), brass, and aluminum. The corrosion rate is greater than 1.27 mm per year. Solutions of greater concentrations (up to 40%) will also be corrosive to these metals. Lithium hypochlorite is not corrosive to gold, platinum and tantalum.(13)

Corrosivity to Non-Metals:
No specific information is available, but like sodium hypochlorite, a closely related hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite may attack some plastics, elastomers and coatings.

Stability and Reactivity Comments:
The presence of diluents such as sodium chloride, sodium and potassium sulfates in technical grade lithium hypochlorite reduces dustiness, increases bulk density, reduces reactivity and improves storage stability.(3)


SECTION 11. TOXICOLOGICAL INFORMATION

There are no standard acute animal toxicity values available for lithium hypochlorite.

Carcinogenicity:
There is no specific information available for lithium hypochlorite. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of hypochlorite salts in experimental animals.(1)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
One study has shown that lithium hypochlorite can produce fetotoxicity in the presence of significant maternal toxicity.
Lithium hypochlorite was orally administered to rats at doses of 10, 50, 100 or 500 mg/kg during days 6-15 of pregnancy. Significant maternal toxicity and deaths were observed at 500 mg/kg. Fetotoxicity (reduced weight and delayed ossification of bones) was also observed at this dose. No maternal or developmental effects were observed at lower doses.(4) Many studies have been conducted using other lithium compounds. Despite design limitations (e.g. poor reporting, small numbers of animals), the available studies tend to show that developmental toxicity can occur, often in the presence of maternal toxicity.(2) No harmful effects on growth or survival were observed in seven generations of rats given chlorinated drinking water containing free chlorine at 100 mg/L.(1, unconfirmed) There are no further details available in English.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no specific information available for lithium hypochlorite.
No firm conclusions can be drawn from a poorly reported study in which decreased fertility (increased interval between litters) was observed following oral administration of lithium chloride in drinking water to mice prior to mating.(2) Another lithium chloride study reported an effect on the reproductive system in female rats (15% reduction in ovarian corporea lutea), but there was no associated effect on pregnancy outcome.(5) No harmful effects on fertility were observed in seven generations of rats given chlorinated drinking water containing free chlorine at 100 mg/L.(1, unconfirmed) There are no further details available in English.

Mutagenicity:
The available information indicates that lithium hypochlorite is not mutagenic.
Negative results were obtained in live rats (bone marrow cytogenetics).(12)
Negative results were obtained in a number of tests using bacteria or cultured mammalian cells. Equivocal results (not clearly positive or negative) were obtained in cultured mammalian cells, in the presence of metabolic activation.(12)


SECTION 16. OTHER INFORMATION

Selected Bibliography:
(1) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Hypochlorite salts. In: IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Vol. 52. Chlorinated drinking-water; chlorination by-products; some other halogenated compounds; cobalt and cobalt compounds. World Health Organization, 1991. p. 159-176
(2) Moore, J.A. An assessment of lithium using the IEHR evaluation process for assessing human developmental and reproductive toxicity of agents. Reproductive Toxicology. Vol. 9, no. 2 (Mar. 1995). p. 175- 210
(3) Wojtowicz, J.A. Chlorine oxygen acids and salts: hypochlorites. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vol. 5. John Wiley and Sons, 1993. p. 943-947, 954
(4) Hoberman, A.M., et al. Developmental toxicity study of orally administered lithium hypochlorite in rats. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. Vol. 9, no. 3 (1990). p. 367-379
(5) Trautner, E.M., et al. The effects of prolonged sub-toxic lithium ingestion on pregnancy in rats. Australian Journal of Experimental Biology. Vol. 36 (1958). p. 305-322
(6) Vogt, H., et al. Chlorine oxides and chlorine oxygen acids: hypochlorite solutions. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely rev. ed. Vol. A 6. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1986. p. 488-496
(7) Kamienski, C.W., et al. Lithium and lithium compounds. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vol. 15. John Wiley and Sons, 1995. p. 451
(8) Bauer, R.J. Lithium and lithium compounds. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely rev. ed. Vol. A 15. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1990. p. 408
(9) Gosselin, R.E., et al. Hypochlorite; lithium. In: Clinical toxicology of commercial products. 5th ed. Williams and Wilkins, 1984. p. III-202 to III-205; III-241 to III-245
(10) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Metals and Metalloid Particulates in Workplace Atmospheres. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31 2001. Available at: <www.osha-slc.gov/dts/sltc/methods/toc>
(11) Salisbury, S.A., et al. Health hazard evaluation report no. HHE- 80-036-922, Lithium Corporation of American, Bessemer City, North Carolina. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 1981
(12) Weiner, M.L., et al. Genotoxicity evaluation of lithium hypochlorite. Toxicology. Vol. 65, nos. 1,2 (Dec. 17, 1990). p. 1-22
(13) Corrosion data survey: metals section. 6th ed. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 78-7 to 79-7
(14) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Elements by ICP. 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: <www.cdc.gov/niosh/nmam/nmammenu.html>
(15) NFPA 430. Code for the storage of liquid and solid oxidizers. 1995 ed. National Protection Association, 1995. p. 430-1 to 430- 16
(16) Urben, P.G., ed. Bretherick's reactive chemical hazards database. 6th ed. Version 3.0. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd., 1999

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: 2004-01-28

Revision Indicators:
pH 2006-01-05



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