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Chemical Datasheet

LITHIUM

4.3 - Dangerous when wet
Chemical Identifiers | Hazards | Response Recommendations | Physical Properties | Regulatory Information | Alternate Chemical Names

Chemical Identifiers

The Chemical Identifier fields include common identification numbers, the NFPA diamond, U.S. Department of Transportation hazard labels, and a general description of the chemical. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
CAS Number UN/NA Number DOT Hazard Label USCG CHRIS Code
  • 7439-93-2
  • Dangerous When Wet
NIOSH Pocket Guide International Chem Safety Card
none
NFPA 704
Diamond Hazard Value Description
2
3 2
W
Blue Health 3 Can cause serious or permanent injury.
Red Flammability 2 Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperatures before ignition can occur.
Yellow Instability 2 Readily undergoes violent chemical changes at elevated temperatures and pressures.
White Special W Reacts violently or explosively with water.
(NFPA, 2010)
General Description
A soft silvery metal that is normally grayish white due to oxide formation. Spontaneous ignition is likely if heated to melting point.

Hazards

The Hazard fields include special hazard alerts, air and water reactions, fire hazards, health hazards, a reactivity profile, and details about reactive groups assignments and potentially incompatible absorbents. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Reactivity Alerts
Air & Water Reactions
Highly flammable. Is readily ignited by and reacts with most extinguishing agents such as water, carbon dioxide, and carbon tetrachloride [Mellor 2, Supp 2:71. 1961]. Reacts with water to form caustic lithium hydroxide and hydrogen gas (H2). Lithium is spontaneously flammable in air if heated to 180°C if the surface of the metal is clean.
Fire Hazard
Special Hazards of Combustion Products: Strong alkali fumes are formed in fire.

Behavior in Fire: Molten lithium is quite easily ignited and is then difficult to extinguish. Hot or burning lithium will react with all gases except those of the helium-argon group. It also reacts violently with concrete, wood, asphalt, sand, asbestos; and in fact, nearly everything except metal. Do not apply water to adjacent fires. Hydrogen explosion may result. (USCG, 1999)
Health Hazard
Contact with eyes causes caustic irritation or burn. Incontact with skin lithium reacts with body moisture to cause chemical burns: foil, ribbon, and wire react relatively slowly. (USCG, 1999)
Reactivity Profile
Burns in air, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. The reactions can become extremely violent at higher temperatures. The disposition to ignite of surfaces of molten lithium exposed to any of these gases is increased by the presence of lithium oxides and nitrides. Lithium reacts avidly with water to generate gaseous hydrogen and a solution of lithium hydroxide (a caustic). Contact with halogenated hydrocarbons can produce extremely violent reactions, especially on impact [Haz. Chem. Data 1966]. Boron trifluoride reacts with incandescence when heated with lithium [Merck 11th ed. 1989]. Maleic anhydride decomposes explosively in the presence of lithium [Chemical Safety Data Sheet SD-88. 1962, Chem. Haz. Info. Series C-71. 1960]. Chlorine vapors and lithium react producing a luminous flame [Mellor 2, Supp. 1:380. 1956]. The product of the reaction between lithium and carbon monoxide, lithium carbonyl, detonates violently with water, igniting the gaseous products [Mellor 2, Supp. 2:84. 1961]. The reaction of lithium and ferrous sulfide starts around 260° C with subsequent rise in temperature to 950° C [Mellor 2, Supp. 2:80. 1961]. A truck, which was carrying lithium batteries, sodium dithionite and derivatives of cyanide, caught fire; multiple explosions occurred as the cargo was exposed to the air.
Belongs to the Following Reactive Group(s)
Potentially Incompatible Absorbents

No information available.

Response Recommendations

The Response Recommendation fields include isolation and evacuation distances, as well as recommendations for firefighting, non-fire response, protective clothing, and first aid. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Isolation and Evacuation
Excerpt from ERG Guide 138 [Substances - Water-Reactive (Emitting Flammable Gases)]:

As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area in all directions for at least 50 meters (150 feet) for liquids and at least 25 meters (75 feet) for solids.

SPILL: Increase, in the downwind direction, as necessary, the isolation distance shown above.

FIRE: If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions. (ERG, 2016)
Firefighting
Excerpt from ERG Guide 138 [Substances - Water-Reactive (Emitting Flammable Gases)]:

DO NOT USE WATER OR FOAM.

SMALL FIRE: Dry chemical, soda ash, lime or sand.

LARGE FIRE: DRY sand, dry chemical, soda ash or lime or withdraw from area and let fire burn. Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk.

FIRE INVOLVING METALS OR POWDERS (ALUMINUM, LITHIUM, MAGNESIUM, ETC.): Use dry chemical, DRY sand, sodium chloride powder, graphite powder or Met-L-X® powder; in addition, for Lithium you may use Lith-X® powder or copper powder. Also, see ERG Guide 170.

FIRE INVOLVING TANKS OR CAR/TRAILER LOADS: Fight fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. Do not get water inside containers. Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after fire is out. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tank. ALWAYS stay away from tanks engulfed in fire. (ERG, 2016)
Non-Fire Response
Excerpt from ERG Guide 138 [Substances - Water-Reactive (Emitting Flammable Gases)]:

ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area). Do not touch or walk through spilled material. Stop leak if you can do it without risk. Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact spilled material. DO NOT GET WATER on spilled substance or inside containers.

SMALL SPILL: Cover with DRY earth, DRY sand or other non-combustible material followed with plastic sheet to minimize spreading or contact with rain. Dike for later disposal; do not apply water unless directed to do so.

POWDER SPILL: Cover powder spill with plastic sheet or tarp to minimize spreading and keep powder dry. DO NOT CLEAN-UP OR DISPOSE OF, EXCEPT UNDER SUPERVISION OF A SPECIALIST. (ERG, 2016)
Protective Clothing
Rubber or plastic gloves; face shield; respirator; fire-retardant clothing (USCG, 1999)
DuPont Tychem® Suit Fabrics
No information available.
First Aid
EYES or SKIN: flush with water and treat with boric acid. (USCG, 1999)

Physical Properties

The Physical Property fields include properties such as vapor pressure and boiling point, as well as explosive limits and toxic exposure thresholds. The information in CAMEO Chemicals comes from a variety of data sources.
Chemical Formula:
  • Li
Flash Point: data unavailable
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL): data unavailable
Upper Explosive Limit (UEL): data unavailable
Autoignition Temperature: 354 ° F (USCG, 1999)
Melting Point: data unavailable
Vapor Pressure: data unavailable
Vapor Density (Relative to Air): data unavailable
Specific Gravity: 0.53 at 68 ° F (USCG, 1999)
Boiling Point: data unavailable
Molecular Weight: 6.939 (USCG, 1999)
Water Solubility: data unavailable
Ionization Potential: data unavailable
IDLH: data unavailable

AEGLs (Acute Exposure Guideline Levels)

No AEGL information available.

ERPGs (Emergency Response Planning Guidelines)

No ERPG information available.

PACs (Protective Action Criteria)

Chemical PAC-1 PAC-2 PAC-3
Lithium (7439-93-2) 3.3 mg/m3 36 mg/m3 220 mg/m3
(DOE, 2016)

Regulatory Information

The Regulatory Information fields include information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Title III Consolidated List of Lists, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals Standard List (see more about these data sources).

EPA Consolidated List of Lists

No regulatory information available.

DHS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS)

No regulatory information available.

OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard List

No regulatory information available.

Alternate Chemical Names

This section provides a listing of alternate names for this chemical, including trade names and synonyms.