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Antimony

DESIGNATIONS

CAS No.: 7440-36-0
Registry name: Antimony
Chemical name: Antimony
Synonyms, Trade names:
Chemical name (German): Antimon
Chemical name (French): Antimoine
Appearance: brittle grey metal with silvery white sheen

BASIC CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL DATA

Chemical Symbol: Sb
Rel. atomic mass: 121.75 g
Density: 6.68 g/cm3
Boiling point: 1,380C
Melting point: 630C
Solvolysis/solubility: in water: insoluble

BASIC DATA ON SELECTED COMPOUNDS

CAS No: 7803-52-3 1309-64-4
Chemical name Antimony hydride Antimony trioxide
Synonyms, Trade names Stibine  
Chemical name (German): Antimonwasserstoff Antimontrioxid
Chemical name (French): Hydrure d’antimoine Trioxyde d’antimoine
Appearance: colourless, foul smelling gas white crystalline powder
Empirical formula: SbH3 Sb2O3
Rel. molecular mass: 124.8 g 291.5 g
Density: 5.68 g/l 5.2-5.8 g/cm3
Relative gas density 4.3  
Boiling point -18C 1456C
Melting point: -88C 656C
Solvolysis/solubility: in water: 200 ml/l in water: 0.014 g/l
Conversion factors: 1 ppm = 5.19 mg/m3

1 mg/m3 = 0.19 ppm

 

ORIGIN AND USE

Usage:
Metallic antimony is mainly used in alloys with lead or tin; its compounds have a wide range of industrial uses e.g. in the manufacture of fireproof fabrics, rubber and synthetics, glass and ceramics, matches, explosives and pyrotechnic materials as well as medicines.

Origin/derivation:
Antimony is an element which makes up 0.001 % of the Earth's crust.

Production figures:
World production of primary antimony in tons of metal (1986):

China 14,000
Bolivia 10,243
South Africa 7,024
USSR 6,000
World 55,533

(figures taken from FISCHER WELTALMANACH, 1989)

Toxicity

 

Mammals:
Rat LD50 4,480 mg/kg, oral (antimony acetate) acc. DVGW, 1985
LD50 115 mg/kg, oral (antimony potassium tartrate) acc. DVGW, 1985
LD50 20,000 mg/kg, oral (antimony(III)oxide) acc. DVGW, 1985
Mouse LD50 600 mg/kg, oral (antimony potassium tartrate) acc. DVGW, 1985
Aquatic organisms:
Fish LCLo 10-100 ppm (96h), (antimony compounds) acc. UBA, 1986

Characteristic effects:

Human/mammals: The toxicity of antimony compounds is comparable to that of arsenic, but as antimony compounds are hardly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, there is less hazard of acute poisoning. In addition, antimony compounds often cause vomiting thus being removed from the organism. Chronic poisoning may result in damage to the liver, the kidneys and even the heart and the circulatory system. The symptoms differ among the compounds. Stibine accumulates in fatty tissue.

ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOUR

The background impact of antimony is 0.0005 - 1.1 mg/kg in soils and 0.04 - 3 m g/l in surface and groundwater (DVGW, 1985). Antimony entering the soil by way of precipitation has been found to impair fertility.
Antimony emissions are transported over great distances in the atmosphere.

ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS

Medium/acceptor Sector Country/organ.

Status

Value Cat. Remarks Source
Water: Drinkw EC

G

0.01 mg/l     acc. DVGW, 1985
Soil:   D

G

5 mg/kg   In cultivated soil acc. KLOKE, 1988
Air: Emiss. D L 20 mg/m3   mass flow > 25 g/h2) acc. TA Luft, 1986
Workp AUS

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp B

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp CH

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp D

L

0.5 mg/m3 MAK   DFG, 1989
Workp DDR

L

0.5 mg/m3 'MAK'   acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp I

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp NL

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp PL

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp RO

(L)

0.5 mg/m3   Short-time value acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp RO

(L)

0.2 mg/m3   Long-time value acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp S

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp SF

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984
Workp SU

(L)

0.5 mg/m3   Short-time value1) acc. Kettner, 1979
Workp SU

(L)

0.2 mg/m3   Long-time value1) acc. KETTNER, 1979
Workp USA

(L)

0.5 mg/m3 STEL   ACGIH, 1986
Workp YU

(L)

0.5 mg/m3     acc. MERIAN, 1984

Note:
1) The Soviet Union has produced a list of limit values ranging between 0.3 and 1 mg/m3 for antimony compounds.
2) dustlike Sb and its compounds, stated as Sb

Comparison/reference values

Medium/origin

Country

Value

Source

Areas of water
Lake Constance (1982)

D

0.13 g/l

acc. DVGW, 1985

Main (Hochheim, 1975)

D

1.21 g/l

acc. DVGW, 1985

Fulda (Fulda, 1975)

D

0.062 g/l

acc. DVGW, 1985

Rhine (Ludwigshafen, 1975)

D

0.62 g/l

acc. DVGW, 1985

ASSESSMENT/COMMENTS

Antimony compounds are poisonous and exhibit a toxicological behaviour similar to that of arsenic. Little is known to date about the environmental risks involved. Water pollution seldom occurs because of the low solubility of most compounds. Extreme caution should be taken when coming into direct contact with antimony compounds.


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