Molybdenum Trioxide: You Know That You’re Toxic

Molybdenum Trioxide: You Know That You’re Toxic
  • Author: Mahtab Idrees
  • Posted On: July 1, 2021
  • Updated On: July 3, 2023

Molybdenum trioxide is an important metal compound used in steel manufacturing. But it is also classified as one of the hazardous materials that you should handle with care.

The use of molybdenum metal in various forms rose by 26% in 2020, with more than 88% of it consumed in metallurgical applications.

What is molybdenum trioxide? What are the risks of exposure? Read on to find out what you need to know.

What Is Molybdenum Trioxide?

What Is Molybdenum Trioxide?

Molybdenum trioxide carries the chemical symbol MoO3. Also known as molybdic trioxide, it is produced in several forms, including a white or yellow solid or gray-black powder. It is processed from molybdenite, a by-product of mining copper and tungsten metal.

Molybdenum trioxide powder is commonly used in construction materials. It is corrosion-resistant and hardens steel, increasing its strength at high temperatures. It is also used in the chemicals industry for catalysts, glazes, glass, and ceramics.

The melting point of molybdenum is the third-highest of any element, after tungsten and tantalum metal.

There are few materials that have the same qualities as molybdenum trioxide. But it is possible to substitute tantalum for refractory materials that can withstand high temperatures in electric furnaces.

What Are the Risks of MoO3 Exposure?

Under the Hazard Communication Standard, companies that handle toxic materials must provide safety data sheets (SDSs) so that users are aware of the dangers of exposure.

Molybdenum trioxide SDSs warn that the compound carries several health hazards:

  • Causes eye irritation
  • Can cause respiratory irritation
  • Can cause headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and loss of appetite
  • Anemia is characteristic of toxicity
  • Gout among populations with high molybdenum content in the soil
  • Associated with depleted copper stores in the body
  • Exacerbate impaired pulmonary function
  • Suspected of causing cancer

Molybdenum trioxide powder is also a fire and explosion risk on exposure to air.

How to Avoid MoO3 Exposure

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifies that the legally permissible workplace exposure limit is 15 mg/m3 over an eight-hour shift.

Workers handling hazardous materials like molybdenum should take steps to limit their exposure. It is vital to avoid breathing in vapor or spray. Workers should wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and clothing to prevent contact with the skin.

How to Treat MoO3 Exposure

If a person inhales molybdenum trioxide, they should immediately move to fresh air away from the exposure. They may need rescue breathing or CPR if their breathing or heart stops.

If someone gets molybdenum trioxide in their eyes, they should rinse them for several minutes with water. Remove contact lenses if possible. If the eye irritation persists they should seek medical attention.

If molybdenum trioxide makes contact with the skin, the person should remove the contaminated clothing and wash the skin with soap and water.

Handle Molybdenum Trioxide With Care

Molybdenum trioxide is a steel alloying material that has critical uses in building materials as well as chemicals. But it is also among the hazardous materials that require careful handling. Construction and industrial workers need to avoid exposure that could cause health problems. They must act fast in the event there is exposure.

If you found this article useful, check out our other articles about construction materials.

Avatar photo
Author: Mahtab Idrees

Mahtab is all about lifestyle, home improvement, and interior decor trends. Her role as associate editor at ConstructionHow has helped her to offer genuine ideas, information, and intricate details about the special home editorial projects. As an interior designer by profession, she is solely focused on the latest trends and shares homeowner’s concerns as she also is a proud homeowner of two properties in mainstream locations.