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CAS Registry No.: 75-21-8
Other Names: EO, ETO, 1,2-Epoxyethane
Main Uses: Used to manufacture other chemicals, to sterilize medical devices, and as a fumigant.
Appearance: Colourless gas.
Canadian TDG: UN1040
A - Compressed Gas; B1 - Flammable Gas; D1A - Very Toxic; D2A - Very Toxic (Carcinogenicity; Mutagenicity; Reproductive toxicity); E - Corrosive; F - Dangerously Reactive
Emergency Overview: Colourless gas. Sweet odour. DANGEROUSLY REACTIVE. Polymerizes vigorously. EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE GAS. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. COMPRESSED GAS. Contains gas under pressure. May explode if heated. VERY TOXIC. Fatal if inhaled. May cause respiratory irritation. May cause drowsiness and dizziness. CORROSIVE. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. CANCER HAZARD. May cause cancer. REPRODUCTIVE HAZARD. May damage fertility. MUTAGEN. May cause genetic defects.
Main Routes of Exposure: Inhalation.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 1 - Carcinogenic to humans.
American Conference for Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): A2 - Suspected human carcinogen.
Inhalation: Take precautions to prevent a fire (e.g. remove sources of ignition). Take precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment). Move victim to fresh air. Keep at rest in a position comfortable for breathing. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration (AR). If the heart has stopped, trained personnel should start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or automated external defibrillation (AED). Avoid mouth-to-mouth contact by using mouth guards or shields. Immediately call a Poison Centre or doctor. Treatment is urgently required. Transport to a hospital.
Skin Contact: Flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes. If irritation or pain persists, see a doctor.
Eye Contact: Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation or pain persists, see a doctor.
Ingestion: Not applicable (gas).
First Aid Comments: If exposed or concerned, see a doctor for medical advice. All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the chemical and its conditions of use in the workplace.
Note to Physicians: Some jurisdictions specifically regulate an ingredient of this product and require a complete medical surveillance program. Specific information should be sought from the appropriate government agency in your jurisdiction.
Flammable Properties: EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE GAS. Can easily ignite. Can readily form explosive mixture with air at room temperature. Can be ignited by static discharge.
Suitable Extinguishing Media: Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, appropriate foam, water spray or fog. Use flooding quantities of water or other suitable extinguishing agent. Foam manufacturers should be consulted for recommendations regarding types of foams and application rates.
Specific Hazards Arising from the Chemical: Gas or vapour may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back to a leak or open container. The heat of a fire may cause spontaneous polymerization or explosive decomposition. Heat from fire can cause a rapid build-up of pressure inside cylinders. Explosive rupture and a sudden release of large amounts of gas may result. Cylinder may rocket. In a fire, the following hazardous materials may be generated: very toxic carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide; flammable hydrogen; toxic, flammable aldehydes.
Personal Precautions: Evacuate the area immediately. Isolate the hazard area. Keep out unnecessary and unprotected personnel. Increase ventilation to area or move leaking container to a well-ventilated and secure area. Remove or isolate incompatible materials as well as other hazardous materials.
Methods for Containment and Clean-up: Small spills or leaks: stop or reduce leak if safe to do so. Evacuate area and let evaporate. Large spills or leaks: knock down gas with fog or fine water spray. Dike and recover contaminated water for appropriate disposal. Contact emergency services and manufacturer/supplier for advice.
Other Information: Contact supplier, local fire and emergency services for help.
Handling: Before handling, it is important that all engineering controls are operating and that protective equipment requirements and personal hygiene measures are being followed. Prevent uncontrolled release of product. Eliminate heat and ignition sources such as sparks, open flames, hot surfaces and static discharge. Post "No Smoking" signs. Immediately report leaks, spills or failures of the safety equipment (e.g. ventilation system). Do not use at elevated temperatures without a thorough safety assessment. Prevent accidental contact with incompatible chemicals. Use non-sparking ventilation systems, approved explosion-proof equipment and intrinsically safe electrical systems. Do not weld, cut or perform hot work on empty container until all traces of product have been removed. Use the pressure regulator appropriate for cylinder pressure and contents. Secure cylinder in an up-right position. Protect cylinders from damage. Use a suitable hand truck to move cylinders; do not drag, roll, slide, or drop.
Storage: Store in an area that is: cool, dry, well-ventilated, separate from incompatible materials, out of direct sunlight and away from heat and ignition sources, an approved, fire-resistant area, on the ground floor or preferably, if storing in large volumes, in an isolated, detached building, clear of combustible and flammable materials (e.g. old rags, cardboard). Electrically bond and ground containers. Ground clips must contact bare metal. Regularly inspect for physical changes or signs of crystallization, damage or leaks.
ACGIH® TLV® - TWA: 1 ppm. A2
Exposure Guideline Comments: TLV® = Threshold Limit Value. TWA = Time-Weighted Average. A2 = Suspected human carcinogen.
NOTE: In many (but not all) Canadian jurisdictions, the exposure limits are similar to the ACGIH® TLVs®. Since legislation varies by jurisdiction, contact your local jurisdiction for exact details. A list is available in the OSH Answers on Canadian Governmental Occupational Health & Safety Departments.
A list of which acts and regulations that cover exposure limits to chemical and biological agents is available on our website. Please note that while you can see the list of legislation for free, you will need a subscription to view the actual documentation.
Engineering Controls: Use stringent control measures such as process enclosure to prevent product release into the workplace. Use non-sparking ventilation systems, approved explosion-proof equipment and intrinsically safe electrical systems in areas where this product is used and stored. Use leak and fire detection equipment and an automatic fire suppression system. Provide eyewash and safety shower if contact or splash hazard exists.
Eye/Face Protection: Wear chemical safety goggles. A face shield (with safety goggles) may also be necessary.
Skin Protection: Wear chemical protective clothing e.g. gloves, aprons, boots. In some operations: wear a chemical protective, full-body encapsulating suit and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Suitable materials include: Silver Shield® - PE/EVAL/PE, Trellchem® HPS, Trellchem® VPS, Tychem® BR/LV, Tychem® Responder® CSM , Tychem® TK.
Up to 5 ppm:
(APF = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted canister providing protection against ethylene oxide*; or Any self-contained breathing apparatus with a full facepiece; or Any supplied-air respirator with a full facepiece.
*End of service life indicator (ESLI) required.
APF = Assigned Protection Factor
Recommendations apply only to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators. Refer to the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards for more information.