Potassium Bromide Safety

Written by rebekah richards
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Potassium bromide (KBR) refers to a salt most commonly used as a medication for dogs and in photography. This salt appears as a large colourless crystal or fine white powder. It is odourless and is usually stable. However, it may react to acids, strong oxidisers and bromine trifluoride. It is important to follow proper safety precautions when using potassium bromide.


Wear chemical safety goggles and rubber gloves when handling potassium bromide. Clothing should cover all exposed skin. Eye-wash facilities and quick-drench facilities should be available. Ensure that ventilation is adequate, and do not inhale, taste or consume potassium bromide.


Store potassium bromide in a tightly closed container in a dry, ventilated area. Do not store in a hot location or near incompatible substances, like acids or strong oxidisers. Do not reuse empty potassium bromide containers, since they may contain chemical residue.


Contact your local hazardous waste facility for information on disposing of excess potassium bromide and empty containers. Although very small quantities of potassium bromide can be safely flushed down the sink with a large amount of water, this may not be legal in all areas.

Health Hazards

Potassium bromide may irritate the respiratory tract if it is inhaled, causing sore throat, shortness of breath and coughing. If ingested, potassium bromide may cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, dizziness, hallucinations and coma. Contact with skin may cause irritation, pain, redness and chemical burns. Eye contact may lead to redness, irritation and pain. In addition, people who have neurological or psychological disorders may be more sensitive to potassium bromide.

First Aid

Contact a physician if anyone comes into contact with potassium bromide. If inhalation occurred, move the victim to fresh air and give artificial respiration or oxygen if necessary. In case of ingestion, induce vomiting. Treat skin contact by removing contaminated clothing and flushing skin with water for 15 minutes. Treat eye contact by flushing eyes with water for 15 minutes.


Potassium bromide is not flammable or explosive and is not considered a fire risk. However, if a fire occurs, extinguish the fire with any available means, such as water spray or foam.

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