Ammonium sulfide is widely used in large-scale applications, such as the production of photographic developers, the application of patina to bronze and textile manufacturing. It is also used in mineral analysis, cell culture and organic chemical synthesis. Ammonium sulfide is an unstable salt.
Ammonium sulfide is water soluble and typically sold in 20 to 24 percent solutions. It is a colorless to yellow liquid with an odor of rotten eggs or ammonia. The solution is corrosive and burns the skin and eyes. It is also a lung irritant if fumes are inhaled. Both the salt and solution forms are flammable.
The solution also emits a toxic gas when heated to high temperatures. Classified as a dangerous good for transport, ammonium sulfide is best stored at room temperature. Ammonium sulfide decomposes naturally with moisture, giving off hydrogen sulfide gas.
Ammonium sulfide is easy to prepare with proper lab equipment, according to CR Scientific LLC. The procedure involves the generation of hydrogen sulfide, a highly toxic gas that can kill a person without proper safety precautions. A lethal dose of the gas smells no more unpleasant than an annoying concentration. Steps involving the gas should be done outside or in a fume hood for safety.