What is Ammonium Hydroxide? (NH4OH)
Ammonium hydroxide is a colorless aqueous solution of ammonia in water. It is a clear liquid that smells strongly of ammonia in its pure form. The chemical forms when ammonia reacts with water molecules in a solution.
Ammonium hydroxide has a boiling point of 38°C and -58°C melting point. When it reacts with sulfuric acid or other strong mineral acids, the reaction is exothermic and the mixture becomes boiling hot.
Industries and Applications of Ammonium Hydroxide
- Treatment of straw for cattle
- Alkyl amine precursor
- Food Production
- Baking ammonia
- Household Maintenance
- Cleaning products
- Furniture darkening
- Water treatment
These are some additional things you might not know about ammonium hydroxide:
- Ammonia found in the household usually contains about 5-10% of an ammonium hydroxide solution.
- Scrap meats are treated with ammonium hydroxide which creates a pink goo used to kill bacteria and extend meat products, such as beef or chicken.
- Ammonium hydroxide is highly corrosive, meaning that it can burn skin or damage mucous membranes.
Health Rating: 3 – The chemical has met Safer Choice Criteria for its functional ingredient class, but has some hazard profile issues. In other words, a chemical with this code is not associated with a low hazard concern for environmental endpoints and human health.
High levels of ammonium hydroxide have been identified as toxic to human beings and aquatic animals by the ATSDR’s Division of Toxicology. Therefore, it has been classified as dangerous to the environment. However, in can be used in products not exceeding good manufacturing practices, according to the FDA, and is safe to use in cosmetics in concentrations of 6% or lower, according to the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.
Refer to this Safety Data Sheet for more regulations on how to handle ammonium hydroxide safely.