Handling & Storage: Hazards

1.1 Loss of Damping Medium

  • Industrial Nitrocellulose containing less than 30% water or other solvent damping medium is more susceptible to ignition. When the water/solvent content of nitrocellulose decreases its burning rate increases rapidly. Dry nitrocellulose burns fiercely.

1.2 Heat and Ignition Source

  • Decomposition of nitrocellulose and ignition can result if it is stored for a long period near any heat source. Rapid overheating caused by friction can also result in ignition of nitrocellulose.
  • Smoking and use of naked light/fire to be strictly prohibited.

1.3 Reactive Chemicals

  • Contact with strong alkaline, acidic materials or with oxidizing agent can lead to decomposition and ignition.
  • Never allow concentrated acids, alkalis or amines to come into contact with nitrocellulose.

1.4 Effect on Health

  • Hazard data should be available wherever nitrocellulose is handled or stored. The user should read and understand MSDS, which gives detailed chemical and toxicological properties, before using the product.
  • Clothing contaminated by nitrocellulose and lacquers is a fire hazard and should be changed at the earliest.
  • Butanol/ethanol/isopropanol damped nitrocellulose is not dangerous to health but nitrous fumes from burnng nitrocellulose are a lung irritant with delayed action.
  • Symptoms (in case of exposure to high concentration of nitrous fumes) :

    • Distressed breathing, tightness in the chest, coughing, headache, vomiting, cold, perspiration, anxious look, protrusion of eyeballs, blueness of the skin, fainting and collapse.