What are some tips for ammonia safety?


Quick Answer

Tips for the safe use of household ammonia include avoiding inhalation, ingestion and getting the product on the skin or in the eyes. Never mix household ammonia with products containing bleach, as the mixture releases a potentially deadly gas. Overheating ammonia products can cause an explosion.

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Full Answer

Depending on the strength of the ammonia product, inhaling fumes from it can cause immediate burns to the nose, throat and respiratory system. When working with ammonia, work in a well-ventilated area to prevent the build-up of the fumes. While ingesting ammonia does not cause systemic poisoning, highly concentrated ammonia products can burn the mouth, throat and stomach. It also burns the skin and eyes.

Mixing ammonia-based cleaning products with bleach containing ones releases a gas that causes choking and coughing and has the potential to kill humans. The gas also causes watery eyes and burns.

Ammonia is also used as a refrigerant and in agriculture as a fertilizer. Both of these types of the product are much more concentrated than the household versions and have a higher potential for causing burns and irritation. Anhydrous ammonia is lighter than air, and spills usually rise so they do not cause issues; however, in damp conditions, the ammonia mixes with water and forms a gas that is heavier than air. This gas is more likely to cause injury to humans.

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