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SECTION 1. CHEMICAL IDENTIFICATION

CHEMINFO Record Number: 475
CCOHS Chemical Name: Lithium hydroxide

Synonyms:
LiOH
Lithium hydroxide anhydrous
Lithium hydrate
Lithium hydroxide monohydrate

Chemical Name French: Hydroxyde de lithium
Chemical Name Spanish: Hidroxido de litio
CAS Registry Number: 1310-65-2
Other CAS Registry Number(s): 1310-66-3
UN/NA Number(s): 2679 2680
RTECS Number(s): OJ6307070
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 215-183-4
Chemical Family: Lithium and compounds / inorganic lithium compound / alkali metal hydroxide
Molecular Formula: H-Li-O
Structural Formula: Li+ OH-

SECTION 2. DESCRIPTION

Appearance and Odour:
Anhydrous lithium hydroxide is a white, odourless, granular, free-flowing powder. The monohydrate is a colourless, odourless, crystalline solid.(5) The anhydrous compound is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).(5)

Odour Threshold:
Odourless

Warning Properties:
Insufficient information available for evaluation.

Composition/Purity:
Lithium hydroxide exists as the anhydrous compound (CAS 1310-65-2) and the monohydrate (CAS 1310-66-3). It is available in grades with purity of greater than 96%. Anhydrous lithium hydroxide may contain up to 3% lithium carbonate as an impurity.

Uses and Occurrences:
Anhydrous lithium hydroxide is used in organic synthesis; as a catalyst in alkyd resin manufacture and esterification reactions; as a stabilizer in some photographic developers, and heat sink material. It is also used as a carbon dioxide absorbent in occupied and closed environments, such as submarines, spacecraft, and self-contained breathing apparatus.(3,7,8)
Lithium hydroxide monohydrate is used mainly in the manufacture of lithium stearates (used in lubricating greases) and other lithium soaps, and other lithium chemicals, e.g. lithium halides. It is also used in the production of dyes; as a catalyst in alkyd resin manufacture and esterification reactions; as a dispersion agent in alkyd resin paints; in the production of cathode materials for lithium ion batteries; in alkaline storage batteries; a dye solubilizer in textiles; in the building industry; as an additive to the mix water for portland cement; and as an additive to nickel-iron accumulators.(3,5,7,8)


SECTION 3. HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION

EMERGENCY OVERVIEW:
Anhydrous lithium hydroxide is a white, odourless, granular, free-flowing powder. The monohydrate is a colourless, odourless, crystalline solid. The anhydrous form is hygroscopic. Does not burn. Airborne dust or mists from concentrated solutions are corrosive to the nose, throat, and airways; may cause include irritation of the nose and throat and coughing and a choking sensation. CORROSIVE to the eyes and skin. May cause permanent eye injury and scarring.



POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Inhalation:
Lithium hydroxide is a strongly alkaline powder or crystals. Airborne dust or mists from concentrated solutions are corrosive to the nose, throat, and airways. Symptoms of exposure can include irritation of the nose and throat and coughing and a choking sensation.
Lithium hydroxide is formed when lithium metal reacts with air or when lithium compounds are heated or burned. Prolonged exposure to higher concentrations, which could form in these situations, could lead to a potentially fatal accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Symptoms of pulmonary edema (chest pain and shortness of breath) can be delayed for up to 24 or 48 hours after exposure.
Workers involved in production of lithium compounds have reported temporary upper respiratory symptoms (runny nose and irritation) following intermittent exposure mainly to lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and silica dust. Concentrations of lithium hydroxide were 0.77-2.46 mg/m3.(14) There is no relevant animal information available.

Skin Contact:
Lithium hydroxide is very corrosive, based on limited animal information and pH. Corrosive materials can cause severe burns, blisters, ulcers and permanent scarring, depending on the concentration of and the duration of contact. There is no human information available.

Eye Contact:
Lithium hydroxide is very corrosive, based on limited animal information and pH. Corrosive materials can cause severe eye burns, and permanent injury, including blindness, depending on the concentration and duration of contact. There is no human information available.

Ingestion:
Lithium hydroxide is toxic if ingested, based on unconfirmed animal information. It is very corrosive and can cause burns to the lips, tongue, throat and stomach, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and death. There is no human information available. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

There is no human or relevant animal information available for lithium hydroxide. There is information available for long-term ingestion of lithium salts (lithium carbonate or lithium chloride), which are used therapeutically in the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions. However, this type of exposure is not relevant to lithium hydroxide, because its extremely irritating and corrosive effects make significant long-term exposure very unlikely.

Carcinogenicity:

There is no human or animal information available.

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 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 human or animal information available for lithium hydroxide. Effects reported following the therapeutic administration of lithium carbonate or lithium chloride are not relevant to occupational exposures to lithium hydroxide.

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

Mutagenicity:
There is no human or animal information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Lithium hydroxide is not expected to accumulate, based on information for other lithium compounds (lithium chloride and lithium carbonate).


SECTION 4. FIRST AID MEASURES

Inhalation:
Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. Obtain medical attention.

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact with this chemical. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. As quickly as possible, remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Immediately flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 60 minutes. DO NOT INTERRUPT FLUSHING. If necessary, and it can be done safely, continue flushing during transport to emergency care facility. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility. Double bag, seal, label and leave contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods at the scene for safe disposal.

Eye Contact:
Quickly and gently blot or brush chemical off the face. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 60 minutes, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If a contact lens is present, DO NOT delay irrigation or attempt to remove the lens. Neutral saline solution may be used as soon as it is available. DO NOT INTERRUPT FLUSHING. If necessary, continue flushing during transport to emergency care facility. Take care not to rinse contaminated water into the unaffected eye or onto the face. Quickly transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Ingestion:
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 60 to 240 mL (2 to 8 oz.) of water. If vomiting occurs naturally, have victim rinse mouth with water again. 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.



SECTION 5. FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES

Flash Point:
Not combustible (will 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:
Probably not sensitive. Stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Specific information is not available. Lithium hydroxide is unlikely to accumulate static charge. Since it does not burn, it will not be ignited by a static discharge.

Electrical Conductivity:
Not available

Minimum Ignition Energy:
Not applicable

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Corrosive lithium oxide fumes are given off at extremely high temperatures.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Lithium hydroxide does burn or support combustion. Corrosive lithium oxide fumes are given off at extremely high temperatures.

Extinguishing Media:
Lithium hydroxide does not burn or support combustion and is not a fire hazard. Use extinguishing media suitable for surrounding fire.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or a protected location. Approach fire from upwind. If possible, isolate materials not involved in the fire and protect personnel.
Move containers from fire area if it can be done without risk. Water can be used in flooding quantities as a spray or fog to keep fire-exposed containers cool and absorb heat to help prevent rupture. Water spray may also be used to knock down corrosive fumes which may be produced in a fire. Apply water from as far a distance as possible. Dike fire control water for appropriate disposal.

Protection of Fire Fighters:
At high temperatures, corrosive fumes of lithium oxide may be given off. Do not enter without wearing specialized equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective clothing (Bunker Gear) will not provide adequate protection. Chemical protective clothing (e.g. chemical splash suit) and positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (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: 23.95 (anhydrous); 41.96 (monohydrate)

Conversion Factor:
Not applicable

Physical State: Solid
Melting Point: 471.2 deg C (880 deg F) (anhydrous) (10,11); the monohydrate loses water of hydration above 100 deg C to form the anhydrous compound (3).
Boiling Point: 1626 deg C (2958.8 deg F) (anhydrous) (10,11); also reported to decompose at 924 deg C (1695.2 deg F) forming lithium oxide (13,16).
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 1.45 at 20 deg C (anhydrous) (10,11); 1.51 at 20 deg C (monohydrate) (5,13) (water = 1)
Solubility in Water: Soluble in water (about 12.4 g/100 mL at 20 deg C (anhydrous) (10); 10.9 g/100 g at 20 deg C (monohydrate) (5)) Solubility of the monohydrate also reported as 19.1 g/100 mL at 20 deg C.(3)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Slightly soluble in ethanol (anhydrous and monohydrate) (5,10)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = -3.88 (estimated) (15)
pH Value: Approximately 14 (0.1N solution) (monohydrate) (5)
Basicity: Strong base. pKb of lithium ion = 0.20 at 20 deg C (pKa = 13.8).(10,11)
Viscosity-Dynamic: Not applicable
Surface Tension: Not applicable
Vapour Density: Not applicable
Vapour Pressure: Negligible
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable
Evaporation Rate: Not applicable
Henry's Law Constant: Not available

SECTION 10. STABILITY AND REACTIVITY

Stability:
Normally stable. Anhydrous lithium hydroxide absorbs moisture from the air to form the monohydrate. Both the anhydrous compound and the monohydrate absorb carbon dioxide from the air to form lithium carbonate.(13)

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.


STRONG ACIDS (e.g. sulfuric acid, nitric acid or hydrochloric acid) - can react vigorously or violently, with generation of heat and spattering.(13,16)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Not reported

Conditions to Avoid:
Extremely high temperatures

Corrosivity to Metals:
Lithium hydroxide is corrosive to aluminum (types 3003 and Cast B-356), naval brass, aluminum bronze, silicon bronze, naval bronze, lead and zinc.(17,18) Lithium hydroxide is not corrosive to stainless steels, carbon steel (types 1010, 1020 and 1075), nickel and nickel-base alloys, e.g. Monel and Hastelloy B.(17,19)

Corrosivity to Non-Metals:
Lithium hydroxide attacks plastics, e.g. general purpose, isophthalic and halogenated polyesters, polyurethane, high density and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene; and elastomers, e.g. nitrile Buna-N (NBR), chloroprene, styrene butadiene (SBR), polyurethane, silicone and fluorosilicone.(18,20,21) Lithium hydroxide does not attack plastics, e.g. Teflon and other fluorocarbons, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polypropylene; and elastomers, e.g. ethylene-propylene diene, natural rubber, and perfluorinated elastomers, e.g. Chemraz and Kalrez.(18,20,21)


SECTION 11. TOXICOLOGICAL INFORMATION

LC50 (rat): 960 mg/m3 (4-hour exposure) (lithium combustion aerosol; primarily lithium hydroxide; MMAD 0.7 micrometres) (9)
NOTE: This exposure system was designed to simulate a fire involving lithium metal in a fusion reaction system and is not considered typical of occupational exposures to lithium hydroxide.

LD50 (oral, rat): 120 mg/kg (lithium hydroxide monohydrate; 92.8% purity) (2, unconfirmed)
LD50 (oral, rat): 210 mg/kg (4, unconfirmed)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 363 mg/kg (4, unconfirmed)

Eye Irritation:

Lithium hydroxide is corrosive to the eyes.

Application of an unspecified amount of lithium hydroxide to the eyes of mice resulted in persistent corneal turbidity and tissue death (necrosis) of the mucous membranes.(6) No further details are available. In unconfirmed animal tests, solutions of lithium hydroxide were reported to cause the same severity of injury as solutions of sodium hydroxide, which is extremely corrosive.(1, unconfirmed)

Skin Irritation:

Lithium hydroxide is corrosive to the skin.

Application of an unspecified amount of lithium hydroxide to the skin of mice for an unreported duration resulted in tissue death (necrosis).(6) No further details are available.

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Inhalation:
Rats were exposed for 4 hours to 570, 840, 1200 or 1500 mg/m3 of a combustion aerosol, which was composed of 77% lithium hydroxide and lithium oxide (mainly lithium hydroxide) and 23% lithium carbonate. The LC50 was determined to be 960 mg/m3. There was a dose-related range of effects including breathing difficulties, lethargy, blood and mucous around the eyes and swollen inflamed external genitalia.(9) This exposure system was designed to simulate a fire involving lithium metal and is not considered typical of occupational exposure to lithium hydroxide.

Ingestion:
Oral administration of 750 mg/kg killed 20/20 mice, while no deaths occurred at 100 mg/kg.(6)


SECTION 16. OTHER INFORMATION

Selected Bibliography:
(1) Grant, W.M. Toxicology of the eye. 4th ed. Charles C. Thomas, 1986. p. 905
(2) Initial submission: letter submitted summarizing study results: acute oral toxicity (LD50) of lithium hydroxide monohydrate in rats with attachment dated 08/03/92. Procter and Gamble Co. Date produced: unknown. EPA/OTS 88-920004914. NTIS/OTS0542092.
(3) Kamienski, C.W., et al. Lithium and lithium compounds. Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. John Wiley and Sons, 2004. Available at: <www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/kirk/kirk_search_fs.html> (Subscription required)
(4) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Lithium hydroxide. Last updated: 2000-12. In: Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS(R)). [CD-ROM]. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Also available at: <ccinfoweb.ccohs.ca/rtecs/search.html>
(5) Lithium hydroxide. The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals. Edited by M.J. O'Neil, et al. 13th ed. Merck and Company, 2001. p. 991
(6) Neretin, V.I., The comparative toxicity of certain lithium compounds in acute experiments on animals. Pharmacology and Toxicology. Vol. 21 (1958). p. 419-422
(7) Wietelmann, U., et al. Lithium and lithium compounds. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 7th ed. John Wiley and Sons, 2002. Also at: <www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/ueic/ueic_search_fs.html> (Subscription required)
(8) FMC Lithium. Lithium products: lithium hydroxide. FMC Corporation, 2004. Available at: <www.fmclithium.com/products/products_p.asp?ID=28>
(9) Rebar, A.H., et al. Acute inhalation toxicopathology of lithium combustion aerosols in rats. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology. Vol. 7 (1986). p. 58-67
(10) Dean, J.A. Lange's handbook of chemistry. 15th ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1999. p. 3.36, 8.21
(11) Lide, D.R., ed. Handbook of chemistry and physics. [CD-ROM]. Chapman and Hall/CRCnetBASE, 1999
(12) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(13) Workplace environmental exposure level guide: lithium hydroxide (1984 - revision 1999). American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1999
(14) Salisbury, S.A., et al. Health Hazard Evaluation Report No. HHE-80-036-922. Lithium Corporation of America. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, July, 1981. (NIOSHTIC No. 00118873)
(15) Syracuse Research Corporation. Interactive LogKow (KowWin) Database Demo. Date unknown. Available at: <syrres.com/esc/kowdemo.htm>
(16) Lithium hydroxide. In: Chemical safety sheets: working safely with hazardous chemicals. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991. p. 534
(17) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide to metals and alloys: a guide to chemical resistance of metals and alloys. Compass Publications, 1995. p. 194-205
(18) Schweitzer, P.A. Corrosion resistance tables: metals, nonmetals, coatings, mortars, plastics, elastomers and linings, and fabrics. 4th ed. Part B, E-O. Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1995. p. 1745-1748
(19) Craig, B.D., et al, eds. Lithium hydroxide. In: Handbook of corrosion data. 2nd. ed. ASM International, 1997. p. 511
(20) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide for plastics: a guide to chemical resistance of engineering thermoplastics, fluoroplastics, fibers and thermoset resins. Compass Publications, 2000. p. 290-301
(21) Pruett, K.M. Chemical resistance guide for elastomers II: a guide to chemical resistance of rubber and elastomeric compounds. Compass Publications, 1994. p. C-218 to C-223
(22) Scientific basis for Swedish occupational standards. XXIV. Consensus report for lithium and lithium compounds. Criteria for occupational standards. Arbete och Halsa. Vol. 16 (2003). p. 55-65
(23) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Metal and Metalloid Particulates (including lithium). In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <www.osha-slc.gov/dts/sltc/methods/toc.html>
(24) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Alkaline Dusts. 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>
(25) 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>

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: 2005-12-29



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