What is Melatonin?

Melatonin (chemical formula: C13H16N2O2), is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in humans and animals. When synthesised, it appears as a white crystalline powder that does not mix well with water. Melatonin is often associated with sleep.  

What is Melatonin used for?

Melatonin is typically synthesised to produce dietary supplements to aid in sleep. Studies have shown mixed results regarding its effectiveness to treat insomnia, however it continues to be a popular solution for such conditions. 

Depending on your country, melatonin is available by prescription or over the counter 
Depending on your country, melatonin is available by prescription or over the counter 

Melatonin Hazards

The routes of exposure for melatonin include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of melatonin may cause individuals with existing respiratory diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis as well as circulatory/nervous system or kidney damage, to incur further disablement if excessive concentrations are inhaled. 

Ingestion of melatonin may be damaging to the health of the individual. Symptoms can include; restlessness, agitation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tension, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, tremors, blurred vision and skin rashes to name a few.

Skin exposure is not expected to cause skin irritation, however entry into the bloodstream through open cuts and wounds may lead to harmful effects.

Eye exposure is expected to cause transient discomfort with symptoms such as tearing and redness. Abrasive damage may also result.

Melatonin Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Encourage the patient to blow their nose to clear their breathing passages. Seek medical attention if irritation persists.

If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting does occur, lean the patient forward or place them on their left side to prevent aspiration. The patient should rinse their mouth out with water and then drink as much as they casually can. Seek medical advice. 

If skin exposure occurs, remove all contaminated clothing and footwear and immediately flush the affected area with plenty of soap and running water. Seek medical attention. 

If exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Contact lenses should be removed only by a skilled professional. Seek medical attention without delay. 

Melatonin Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants to prevent overexposure (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling melatonin includes, safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, filter dust respirators, PVC/rubber gloves, overalls, PVC aprons and safety footwear.

It is always advisable to refer to your SDS prior to handling melatonin and other chemicals. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at for more information about our chemicals management solutions. 

Chemwatch has the largest collection of SDS in the world. For a FREE copy of the Chemwatch-authored SDS for Melatonin, click the button below.