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Ammonia

Overview

CAS No. 7664-41-7

Ammonia (NH3) is found throughout the environment in the air, soil, and water, and in plants and animals, including humans. Ammonia is also found in many household and industrial cleaners. High levels of ammonia can irritate and burn the skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes. Very high levels of ammonia can damage the lungs or cause death. Workers may be harmed from exposure to ammonia. The level of exposure depends upon dose, duration, and work being done.

Ammonia is used in many industries. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to ammonia include the following:

  • Agricultural workers who use soil fertilizer
  • Industrial workers who manufacture fertilizers, rubber, nitric acid, urea, plastics, fibers, synthetic resin, solvents and other chemicals
  • Miners and metallurgic workers
  • Workers in petroleum refining
  • Workers who use a commercial refrigerant in food processing, produce ice, are near cold storage and de-icing operations.

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries.  If you work in an industry that uses ammonia, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheet for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to ammonia. Useful search terms for ammonia include “anhydrous ammonia,” “aqua ammonia,”and “aqueous ammonia.”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

NIOSH Pocket Guide logo

NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide (NPG) provides safety and health information on several hundred chemicals found in the workplace. The guide aims to help workers and employers identify and control chemical hazards.

Logo of Manual of Analytical Methods

Manual of Analytical Methods

The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

Logo of Health Hazard Evaluations consisting of three letters: HHE

Health Hazard Evaluations

The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on ammonia.

Related NIOSH Resources

Selected Publications

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