volume; the upper limit has not been reported. Carbon dioxide, water, or dry chemical extinguishers should be used for nickel carbonyl fires.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

In the presence of air, nickel carbonyl forms a deposit that becomes peroxidized and may ignite. Nickel carbonyl is incompatible with mercury, nitric acid, chlorine, and other oxidizers, which may cause fires and explosions. Products of decomposition (nickel oxide and carbon monoxide) are less toxic that nickel carbonyl itself.

Storage and Handling

Because of its carcinogenicity and flammability, nickel carbonyl should be handled using the "basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C supplemented by the additional precautions for work with compounds of high chronic toxicity (Chapter 5.D) and extremely flammable substances (Chapter 5.F). In particular, work with nickel carbonyl should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation and splash goggles and impermeable gloves should be worn at all times to prevent eye and skin contact. Nickel carbonyl should only be used in areas free of ignition sources. Containers of nickel carbonyl should be stored in secondary containers in the dark in areas separate from oxidizers.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water for 15 min (lifting upper and lower lids occasionally) and obtain medical attention. If nickel carbonyl is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If large amounts of this compound are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, remove all ignition sources, soak up the nickel carbonyl with a spill pillow or absorbent material, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Respiratory protection will be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area.


Excess nickel carbonyl and waste material containing this substance should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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