CAS RN:55-63-0

Exposure Summary

Nitroglycerin's production and use as a propellant and explosive, and as a pharmaceutical product to treat heart related illness, may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. If released to air, a vapor pressure of 2.0X10-4 mm Hg at 20 deg C indicates nitroglycerin will exist in both the vapor and particulate phases in the ambient atmosphere. Vapor-phase nitroglycerin will be degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with photochemically-produced hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for this reaction in air is estimated to be 15 days. Nitroglycerin absorbs light weakly in the environmental UV spectrum, but it is unknown weather it undergoes significant direct photolysis in the atmosphere. Particulate-phase nitroglycerin will be removed from the atmosphere by wet and dry deposition. If released to soil, nitroglycerin is expected to have moderate mobility based upon an estimated Koc of 180. Volatilization from moist soil surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process based upon an estimated Henry's Law constant of 4.3X10-8 atm-cu m/mole. If released into water, nitroglycerin is expected to adsorb to suspended solids and sediment based upon the estimated Koc. Nitroglycerin was completely biodegraded in 13 days using river water and river water/sediment microcosms obtained from a river near a munitions facility. Volatilization from water surfaces is not expected to be an important fate process based upon this compound's estimated Henry's Law constant. Although hydrolysis is not an important environmental fate process at neutral pH, hydrolysis may be important under alkaline conditions based on half-lives of 37 and 96 days at pH 9 and 25 and 18 deg C, respectively. Nitroglycerin may undergo photolysis in sunlit surface waters. The photolysis half-life for nitroglycerin in distilled water, filtered river water and filtered pond water exposed to sunlight were 116, 57 and 73 days, respectively. An estimated BCF of 4 suggests the potential for bioconcentration in aquatic organisms is low. Occupational exposure to nitroglycerin may occur through dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where nitroglycerin is produced or used. The general population is not expected to be exposed to nitroglycerin except for persons that may need to use this compound to treat and prevent chest pain (from angina pectoris), or other heart related conditions. (SRC)
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