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CHEMINFO Record Number: 146
CCOHS Chemical Name: Neon gas

Neon, compressed

CAS Registry Number: 7440-01-9
UN/NA Number(s): 1065
RTECS Number(s): QP4450000
Chemical Family: Noble gas / inert gas
Molecular Formula: Ne
Structural Formula: Ne


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless, odourless gas.(9,10)

Odour Threshold:
Odourless gas.

Warning Properties:
NONE - Odourless, colourless gas.

Neon is normally available as a compressed gas in high pressure steel cylinders at varying pressures depending on the cylinder size. It is also available in 1 litre quantities in glass flasks at atmospheric pressure.(9,10) It is available in grades with a purity of 99.7 to 99.999 mole percent.(9,10,11) It may contain small amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, perfluorinated hydrocarbons and water.(11,12) Neon is also shipped as a liquefied, cryogenic gas in special insulated containers. Refer to CHEMINFO record 790 for information on liquefied neon.

Uses and Occurrences:
Neon is present in air at an approximate concentration of 18 ppm. It is used with a mixture of other gases to fill speciality lamps such as neon glow lamps, ultraviolet sterilizing lamps and very-high-output lamps and neon signs. It is also used in the atomic energy field for ionization chambers, gaseous scintillation counters and other detection and measurement devices; in starters for fluorescent tubes; in the electronics industry in gas-filled electron tubes (e.g. voltage regulator tubes, phototubes and Geiger-Muller tubes); in plasma research; in lasers; and for cryogenic refrigeration.(9,10,11)


Colourless, odourless gas. Will not burn. COMPRESSED GAS. Simple asphyxiant. Can displace oxygen in air. Confined space hazard.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Neon gas is not toxic at normal temperature and pressure. However, like other inert gases such as nitrogen and argon, neon is a simple asphyxiant. Simple asphyxiants can displace oxygen in the air, especially in a confined space. The lack of oxygen then causes the victim to suffocate.
Air normally contains approximately 0.0018% (18 ppm) neon and 20.9% oxygen. At 15-16% oxygen, symptoms of sleepiness, fatigue, loss of coordination, errors in judgment and confusion are masked by a state of euphoria, giving the victim a false sense of security and well-being. An oxygen concentration of 12% or lower can cause unconsciousness quickly and without warning. In some cases, disturbed respiration, abnormal fatigue, emotional upsets, nausea, vomiting and inability to move freely may occur. Concentrations below 6% can result in respiratory collapse and death.(1,2,3) Since exercise increases the body's need for oxygen, symptoms will occur more quickly during exertion in an oxygen-deficient environment.(3) If the victim survives some or all organs, including the central nervous system and brain, may show damage due to oxygen deprivation. These effects may be reversible with time, depending on the degree and duration of the oxygen deprivation and the extent of the injury.(3)
Under conditions of increased pressure, inert gases, such as neon, are dissolved in fatty tissues, and are eliminated when the pressure is decreased resulting in decompression sickness.(4,5) Unlike some other inert gases (e.g. nitrogen or argon), which produce an anesthetic or narcotic effect called "inert gas narcosis" when inhaled under pressure (e.g. when diving), neon is not narcotic or only weakly narcotic. It has been shown to be the second least narcotic inert gas after helium.(6,7)

Skin Contact:
Neon gas is not irritating.

Eye Contact:
Neon gas is not irritating.

Ingestion is not an applicable route of exposure for gases.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No effects of long-term exposure have been reported.


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 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 or animal information available.

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

There is no information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Neon does not accumulate in the body.


If oxygen deprivation occurs, 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 and move victim to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, oxygen may be beneficial if administered by trained personnel, preferably on a doctor's advice. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration (AR) or, if the heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Immediately transport victim to an emergency care facility.

Skin Contact:
The skin is not an applicable route of exposure for gases.

Eye Contact:
No effects expected. If irritation does occur, remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice.

Ingestion is not an applicable route of exposure for gases.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest).
Some recommendations in the above sections, such as administration of oxygen, 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.


Flash Point:
Non-flammable gas

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:
Stable gas. Not sensitive.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Stable gas. Not sensitive.

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
None known

Fire Hazard Summary:
Neon does not burn. However, cylinders may rupture or explode in the heat of fire. Neon can displace air to the point where there is not enough oxygen to breathe.

Extinguishing Media:
Use extinguishing media appropriate for surrounding fire.

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or a protected location.
If a fire occurs in an area where neon cylinders are used or stored, move cylinder or container from fire area if it can be done without risk. Use extreme caution since heat may rupture containers, which may rocket. Otherwise, fire- exposed containers or tanks should be cooled by application of hose streams and this should begin as soon as possible (within the first several minutes) and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. No part of a cylinder should be subjected to a temperature higher than 52 deg C (approximately 125 deg F). Most cylinders or containers are provided with a pressure relief valve designed to vent contents when they are exposed to elevated temperatures. Stay away from ends of tanks, but be aware that flying material from ruptured tanks may travel in any direction. Personnel should withdraw immediately in case of rising sounds from venting safety device or any discolouration of tanks due to fire.
Firefighters may enter the area if positive pressure self- contained apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full Bunker Gear is worn.


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


Molecular Weight: 20.183

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 0.82 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 1.21 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Gas
Melting Point: -248.7 deg C (-415.6 deg F) (9,12)
Boiling Point: -246 deg C (-410.9 deg F) (9,11)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): Not applicable (gas)
Solubility in Water: Slightly soluble (1.05 vol%) at 20 deg C (9,11,13)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Not available
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Not available
pH Value: Not applicable
Viscosity-Dynamic: 0.032 mPa.s (0.032 centipoise) at 25 deg C and 101.33 kPa (gas) (11)
Vapour Density: 0.696 at 21.1 deg C (70 deg F) and 101.3 kPa (air = 1) (9)
Vapour Pressure: Gas at normal temperature
Vapour Pressure at 50 deg C: Greater than 7000 kPa (69 atm) (estimated from graph) (10b)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable for gases
Evaporation Rate: Not applicable for gases
Critical Temperature: -228.8 deg C (-379.8 deg F or 44.40 deg K) (9,11)
Critical Pressure: 2654 kPa absolute (384.9 psia or 26.19 atmospheres) (9,11,13)

Other Physical Properties:
TRIPLE POINT: -248.6 deg C (-415.5 deg F or 24.56 deg K) at 43.4 kPa absolute (9,11)


Normally stable.

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.

Neon is inert and unreactive.

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
None known

Conditions to Avoid:

Corrosivity to Metals:
Neon gas is not corrosive.(9)


Standard animal toxicity values are not available.

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Male rats were exposed for 6 days to 20% oxygen and 80% neon at atmospheric pressure. No significant changes in blood cell counts or bone marrow were observed.(8) Other animal studies have investigated the effects of oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) and pressure effects (narcotic effects and decompression sickness). These effects have been studied in humans and are described in the Human Health Hazard Data section of this review.


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Compressed Gas Association. Safety guidelines for compressed gases and cryogenic liquids. In: Handbook of compressed gases. 3rd ed. Chapman and Hall, 1990. p. 83
(2) Lipsett, M.J., et al. Inorganic compounds of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen: oxygen, O2. In: Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. 4th ed. Edited by G.D. Clayton, et al. Vol. II. Toxicology. Part F. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1994. p. 4597-4621
(3) Wilkenfeld, M. Simple asphyxiants. In: Environmental and occupational medicine. 2nd ed. Edited by W.N. Rom. Little, Brown and Company, 1992. p. 535-538
(4) The physician's guide to diving medicine. Edited by C.W. Shilling, et al. Plenum Press, 1984. p. 128-135
(5) Lever, M.J., et al. Decompression characteristics of inert gases. Underwater physiology. Proceedings of the fourth symposium on underwater physiology. Edited by C.J. Lambertsen. Academic Press, 1971. p. 123-136
(6) Bennett, P.B. Inert gas narcosis. In: The physiology and medicine of diving. 3rd ed. Edited by P.B. Bennett, et al. Bailliere Tindal, 1982. p. 239-261
(7) Hamilton, R.W., Jr. Psychomotor performance of men in neon and helium at 37 atmospheres. Underwater physiology V. Edited by C.J. Lambertsen. FASEB, 1976. p. 651-664
(8) Aldrete, J.A., et al. Effects of prolonged inhalation of anesthetic and other gases on blood and marrow of rats. Toxicity of anesthetics. Proceedings of a research symposium held in Seattle, May 12-13, 1967. Edited by B.R.Fink. Williams & Wilkins, 1968. p. 105-111
(9) Compressed Gas Association. Rare gases: krypton, neon, xenon. In: Handbook of compressed gases. 3rd ed. Chapman and Hall, 1990. p. 549-555
(10a) Braker, W., et al. Neon. In: Matheson gas data book. 6th ed. Matheson Gas Products, 1980. p. 504-508
(10b) Yaws, C.L. Matheson gas data book. 7th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2001. p. 580
(11) Hwang, S-C., et al. Helium group: gases. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vol. 13. John Wiley and Sons, 1995. p. 1-38
(12) Haussinger, P., et al. Noble gases. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised ed. Vol. A 17. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1991. p. 485-539
(13) The Merck index: an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs, and biologicals. 12th ed. Merck and Co., Inc., 1996. p. 1108-1109

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: 2000-01-04

Revision Indicators:
TDG 2002-05-29
WHMIS disclosure list 2003-07-13
PEL-TWA transitional 2003-12-19
Bibliography 2006-01-17
Vapour pressure at 50 deg C 2006-01-17
Relative density 2006-09-28

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