What is anhydrous ammonia and is it dangerous?

Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is an effective nitrogen fertilizer used extensively on field-corn acreage in the Midwest.

Exposure to anhydrous ammonia is very dangerous because the gas is a hygroscopic compound that seeks moisture from the nearest source, which can be the moisture-laden tissue of the human body. Exposure of high-moisture-content areas of the body—including eyes, lungs, and mucous membranes—is especially dangerous. After exposure to anhydrous ammonia, it is extremely important to flush these areas immediately with potable water for at least 15 minutes. Inhalation of anhydrous ammonia gas can cause a person’s throat to swell shut, leading to suffocation. Victims of anhydrous ammonia exposure should seek medical attention immediately.

For more information, click here to link to the article “Anhydrous Ammonia Safety.”