Ammonium nitrate is a widely used chemical compound with various industrial applications, including as a fertilizer and in the production of explosives. While ammonium nitrate is generally safe when handled properly, it can pose serious health risks if not handled with care. In this article, we’ll explore the effects of ammonium nitrate on humans, including its health hazards and safety measures to mitigate these risks.


ammonium nitrate or ANFO supplier from IEE GlobalWhat is Ammonium Nitrate?

Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) is a white crystalline solid that is commonly used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture.

It is also used in the production of explosives, such as in mining and construction industries.

Ammonium nitrate is highly soluble in water and can easily absorb moisture from the air, making it prone to caking and decomposition under certain conditions.


Health Hazards of Ammonium Nitrate

  • Inhalation: Inhalation of ammonium nitrate dust or fumes can irritate the respiratory tract, leading to coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation. Prolonged or high-level exposure can cause more serious respiratory problems, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • Skin Contact: Contact with ammonium nitrate can cause irritation, redness, and itching of the skin. Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to dermatitis or skin sensitization.
  • Eye Contact: Contact with ammonium nitrate can cause irritation, redness, and tearing of the eyes. In severe cases, it can cause corneal damage or vision impairment.
  • Ingestion: Ingestion of large amounts of ammonium nitrate can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Ingestion of high doses can lead to more serious health effects, such as methemoglobinemia, a condition that affects the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.


Safety Measures for Handling Ammonium Nitrate

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): When handling ammonium nitrate, wear appropriate PPE, including gloves, goggles, and a mask, to protect against skin contact, eye contact, and inhalation.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure that work areas where ammonium nitrate is stored or handled are well-ventilated to minimize inhalation exposure.
  • Storage and Handling: Store ammonium nitrate in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from sources of heat, moisture, and incompatible materials. Follow proper handling procedures to prevent spills and accidents.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Have an emergency response plan in place in case of accidental exposure or release of ammonium nitrate. Train employees on proper procedures for handling emergencies involving ammonium nitrate.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensure compliance with applicable regulations and standards for the safe handling, storage, and transportation of ammonium nitrate, such as those set by OSHA and the EPA.


ppe suit using ammonium nitrateEnvironmental Impact of Ammonium Nitrate

In addition to its effects on human health, ammonium nitrate can also have environmental impacts.

When released into the environment, either through runoff or improper disposal, ammonium nitrate can contribute to water pollution and eutrophication, leading to harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion in aquatic ecosystems.



Ammonium nitrate is a versatile chemical compound with various industrial applications, but it can pose serious health risks if not handled with care. Understanding the effects of ammonium nitrate on humans and implementing proper safety measures can help mitigate these risks and ensure the safe handling and use of this chemical compound.