Potassium Nitrate

CAS RN:7757-79-1

Hazards Summary

The major hazards encountered in the use and handling of potassium nitrate stem from its toxicologic properties and reactivity. Toxic by all routes (ie, inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact), exposure to this odorless, colorless-to-white, crystalline substance may occur from its use as a fertilizer, in the manufacture of fireworks, matches, glass, ceramics, candle wicks, rocket propellants, or in the pickling of meats. Effects from exposure may include burns to the skin and eyes, diuresis, headache, nausea, or methemoglobinemia. Local exhaust ventilation close to the point of contaminant generation should be used to limit exposure. In activities and situations where over-exposure may occur, wear personal protective clothing and a self-contained breathing apparatus. If exposure should occur, immediately flush affected skin and eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes at the site. While not flammable itself, potassium nitrate is a powerful oxidizer and if it comes into contact with easily oxidizable substances it may react rapidly enough to cause ignition, violent combustion or explosion. Also, potassium nitrate presents an explosion risk when shocked or heated and may produce poisonous gases in a fire. For fires involving potassium nitrate, extinguish with dry chemical, CO2, Halon, water spray, or fog. If water is used, apply from as far a distance as possible. If fire becomes uncontrollable, consider evacuation of one-half mile radius. Potassium nitrate should be stored in a cool, dry area, away from combustible (wood, paper, oil, etc.), organic, or other readily oxidizable materials. Potassium nitrate may be shipped via air, rail, road, and water, in containers bearing the label, "Oxidizer". For small spills of potassium nitrate, place material into a clean, dry covered container. For large spills of potassium nitrate solutions, first dike far ahead of the spill to prevent it from entering water sources and sewers, then take up with sand, earth, or other noncombustible absorbent material.
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