Description: Barium nitrate is used as an oxidizer in both white and green color compositions. When chlorine donors are present in a composition a green color will result from the formation of BaCl+ in the flame. Without chlorine donors BaO will be formed which emits bright white light. Barium nitrate is seldom used as the sole oxidizer in green color compositions. It is usually combined with perchlorate's to improve the color and increase the burning rate.
Hazards: Barium nitrate is poisonous. May be fatal if swallowed! A dust mask should be worn at all times when handling it. Mixtures of metal powders and barium nitrate sometimes heat up spontaneously and may ignite, especially when moist. This can usually be prevented by the addition of small amounts of boric acid (1 to 2%). It is advisable to avoid using water to bind such compositions. Red gum or shellac with alcohol or nitrocellulose lacquer are preferred binder and solvents (also see aluminium ).
Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath. Systemic poisoning may occur with symptoms similar to those of ingestion. If ingested it may cause tightness of the muscles of the face and neck, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscular tremors, anxiety, weakness, labored breathing, cardiac irregularity, convulsions, and death from cardiac and respiratory failure. Estimated lethal dose lies between 1 to 15 grams. Death may occur within hours or up to a few days. May cause kidney damage. Causes irritation to skin. Symptoms include redness, itching, and pain. If it comes into contact with eyes it causes irritation, redness, and pain.
Sources: Barium nitrate may be prepared from nitric acid or ammonium nitrate and barium carbonate , which is available from ceramic supply stores. It can also be made from sodium nitrate and barium chloride by double decomposition and recrystallizing for purity. It should be done outside with an electric hotplate and stainless steel ware. Garden hose at the ready and nothing left outside for the kids to handle. Wash any spills into the ground with the hose until below the surface. Spread some ammonium sulphate fertilizer over and water some more. This will convert soluble barium salts to insoluble barium sulphate, which is harmless. Neutralize all waste solution with enough ammonium sulphate until white clouds of powder is no longer seen in the clear liquid then it is safe to dump onto ground.
Hazard Symbols: T, O, Xn, Xi
http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/B0432.htm - Material Safety data sheet
http://www.pyrosociety.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=197 - Dangers of soluble Barium salts