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Tungsten Thoriated

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ESPI Metals

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Product Name:                            Tungsten-Thoria

Formula:                                      W with 1 or 2% ThO2




Hazardous Component:       Tungsten             Thorium Oxide    

CAS Number:                        7440-33-7           1314-20-1

Percent (%):                        98 or 99              1 or 2 

OSHA/PEL:                           5 mg/m3              N/E   

ACGIH/TLV:                          5 mg/m3             N/E 



Boiling Point:                   5660 oC

Specific Gravity:             19 g/cc

Solubility in H2O:             Insoluble

Appearance and Odor:    Gray metal, no odor




Flash Point (Method used):  N/A

Autoignition Temperature:  N/A

Flammable LimitsUpper:  N/A       Lower:  N/A

Extinguishing Media:  Tungsten rod, wire and fabricated products are not a fire hazard.  Fine dust generated during grinding  operations may ignite if allowed to accumulate and subjected to an ignition source.  Cover burning material with an inert powder, such as dry sand or limestone, to exclude oxygen.

Special Fire Fighting Procedures:  For a powder fire confined to a small area, use a respirator approved for toxic dusts and fumes. For a large fire involving this material, fire fighters should use self-contained breathing apparatus.

Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazards:  Dust may present a fire or explosion hazard under favoring conditions of particle size,  dispersion and strong ignition source.  However, this is not expected to be a problem under normal handling conditions.




Effects of Exposure:

To the best of our knowledge the chemical, physical and toxicological properties of tungsten thoria have not been thoroughly investigated and recorded.

Dust, mist and fumes generated during physical or metallurgical treatment may cause mild irritation of the nose and throat.  With the exception of two russian studies that found early signs of pulmonary fibrosis in some workers exposed to tungsten trioxide, tungsten metal and tungsten carbide, most studies have shown tungsten to be toxicologically inert.  Skin and eye contact may cause irritation due to abrasive action of the dust.  Current scientific evidence indicates no adverse effects are likely  from accidental ingestion of small amounts of tungsten.

Thorium dioxide is a naturally occurring, slightly radioactive element with a long half-life.  It emits mainly alpha particles, but occasionally beta and gamma radiation is emitted. Alpha particles cannot penetrate skin or even paper and as such, its primary hazard lies in inhalation or ingestion.  Normal handling of this material is not expected to result in any significant external radiation exposure.  Considerable experience in refining and use of thorium has not revealed any adverse effects from industrial exposure.

Routes of Exposure:  Dust, mist and/or fumes generated during physical or metallurgical treatment may be inhaled, swallowed or come in contact with the skin or eyes.

Carcinogenic Assessment (NTP Annual Report, IARC Monographs, Other):  Thorium Dioxide has been identified as a carcinogen by the NTP and IARC.  Evidence for its ability to cause cancer has come solely from its internal medical use.



INHALATION:  If any symptoms of pulmonary involvement develop, remove from exposure and seek medical attention.

INGESTION:  Dilute with a large amount of water, induce vomiting and seek medical attention.

SKIN:  Thoroughly wash affected area with mild soap and water.  If irritation persists seek medical attention.

EYE:  If irritation occurs, flush with copious amounts of water.  If irritation persists, seek medical attention.




Stability:  Stable

Conditions to avoid:  N/A

Incompatibility (Material to Avoid):  Avoid contact of dust with strong oxidizers, acids and fluorine gas.

Hazardous Decomposition Products:  None

Hazardous Polymerization:  Will not occur




Steps to Be Taken in Case Material Is Released or Spilled (Applicable for Grinding Dust):  Ventilate area of spill. Clean-up using methods which avoid dust generation such as vacuuming (with appropriate filter to prevent airborne dust levels which exceed the TLV), wet dust mop or wet clean-up.  If airborne dust is generated, use an appropriate NIOSH approved respirator.

Waste Disposal Method:  Dispose of in accordance with State, Federal and Local regulations.




Respiratory Protection:  Use an appropriate NIOSH approved respirator if airborne dust concentrations exceed the TLV for Tungsten or appropriate MPC for Thorium.  All appropriate requirements set forth in Z9CFR 1910.134 should be met.

Ventilation:  Use local exhaust ventilation which is adequate to limit personal exposure to levels which do not exceed the TLV for Tungsten or appropriate MPC for Thorium.  If such equipment is not available, use respirators as specified above.

Protective Gloves:  Recommended when contact is likely.

Eye Protection:  Safety glasses or goggles

Other Protective Equipment:  N/A



Precautions to be Taken in Handling and Storage:  Maintain good housekeeping procedures to prevent accumulation of dust.  Use clean-up methods which minimize dust generation such as vacuuming or wet clean-up.  If airborne dust is generated, use an appropriate NIOSH approved respirator.

Other Precautions:  Wash thoroughly after handling and before eating or smoking and at the end of the work shift. Do not shake clothing or other items to remove dust.  Use a vacuum.  Avoid dust inhalation and direct skin contact.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulations, contained in Title 10 of the Code Of Federal Regulation, should be consulted for applicable requirements pertaining to the use of Tungsten-Thoria Alloys.

Work Practices:  Implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce and maintain concentration of exposure at low levels.  Use good housekeeping and sanitation practices.  Do not use tobacco or food in work area.  Wash thoroughly before eating and smoking.  Do not blow dust off clothing or skin with compressed air.  Maintain eyewash capable of sustained flushing, safety drench shower and facilities for washing.

DOT Regulations:

Hazard Class:       None



The above information is believed to be correct, but does not purport to be all inclusive and shall be used only as a guide.  ESPI shall not be held liable for any damage resulting from handling or from contact with the above product.


Prepared by:          S. Dierks

Dated:                   July 2005