Ethylene oxide

  • Dimethylene oxide
  • 1,2-Epoxyethane
  • Oxirane
  • EO
  • EOX
  • ETO
Formula
C2H4O
Structure
Description
A colorless, odorless gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.
Uses
Ripening agent for fruits, fungistat, sterlizing medical instruments.

Registry Numbers and Inventories.
CAS
75-21-8
EC (EINECS/ELINCS)
200-849-9
EC Index Number
603-023-00-X
EC Class
Extremely flammable; Carcinogenic Category 2; Mutagenic Category 2; Toxic; Irritant
RTECS
KX2450000
RTECS class
Agricultural Chemical and Pesticide; Tumorigen; Mutagen; Reproductive Effector; Human Data; Primary Irritant
UN (DOT)
1040
Merck
12,3848
Beilstein/Gmelin
102378
Beilstein Reference
5-17-01-00003
RCRA
U115
EPA OPP
42301
Swiss Giftliste 1
G-1183
Canada DSL/NDSL
DSL
US TSCA
Listed
Austrailia AICS
Listed
New Zealand
Listed
Japan ENCS (MITI)
Listed

Properties.
Formula
C2H4O
Formula mass
44.05
Melting point, °C
-112.5
Boiling point, °C
10.7
Decomposition point, °C
-0.15
Vapor pressure, mmHg
1260 (25 C)
Vapor density (air=1)
1.49
Odor Threshold Odor threshold 50 ppm
Critical temperature
196
Critical pressure
71.0
Density
1.1196g/cm3 (15 C)
Solubility in water
Miscible
Viscosity
0.309 cp (0 C)
Surface tension
28 g/s2 (0.1 C)
Refractive index
0.3597 (20 C)
Dipole moment
1.88 D
Dielectric constant
12.42 (20 C)
Partition coefficient, pKow
-0.30
Thermal expansion
0.0016/K at 20 C
Heat of fusion
5.2 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization
24.8 kJ/mol
Heat of combustion
-1281 kJ/mol

Hazards and Protection.
Storage
Store in a cool, dry place. Keep container closed when not in use. Refrigerator/flammables.
A B1 D1A D2A D2 B
Handling
Wash thoroughly after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Avoid ingestion and inhalation.
Protection
Wear appropriate protective gloves, clothing and goggles -- as recommended by the manufacturer. Always wear thermal protective clothing when handling refrigerated/cryogenic liquids.
Respirators
A respiratory protection program that meets OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.134 and ANSI Z88.2 requirements or European Standard EN 149 must be followed whenever workplace conditions warrant a respirator's use.
Small spills/leaks
Clean up spills immediately, using the appropriate protective equipment.
Stability
Stable under normal temperatures and pressures.
Incompatibilities
Reacts violently with many compounds. Avoid metal fittings containing copper, silver, mercury or magnesium; ammonia, oxidizing agents; acids, organic bases; amines; certain salts; alcohols; mercaptans, ferric chloride; magnesium perchlorate; m-nitroaniline; trimethylamine, potassium, tin chlorides; alkanethiols; bromoethane; aluminum chloride; aluminum oxide; iron chlorides; and iron oxides. Avoid air, heat, acids and bases, metal or metal chloride catalysts. Hazardous polymerization may occur. Avoid acids; covalent halides such as chlorides of aluminum, iron (III), tin (IV); basic materials like alkali hydrides, ammonia, amines, and potassium; catalytically active solids such as aluminum or iron oxides or rust, chlorides of boron, aluminum, tin, and iron; some carbonates; and metals such as copper and copper alloys.
Decomposition
Irritating and toxic fumes and gases.

Fire.
Flash Point,°C
-55
Autoignition, °C
429
Upper exp. limit, %
100
Lower exp. limit, %
3
Fire fighting
Move container from fire area if you can do so without risk. Stay away from ends of tanks. Fight fire from maximum distance. For massive fire in cargo area, use unmanned hose holder or monitor nozzles; if this is impossible, withdraw from area and let fire burn. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discoloration of tank due to fire. Isolate for 1 mile in all directions if tank car or truck is involved in fire. Keep unnecessary people away; isolate hazard area and deny entry. Stay upwind; keep out of low areas. Wear positive pressure breathing apparatus and full protective clothing. Evacuate area endangered by gas.Extinguish with alcohol foam, carbon dioxide, dry chemical or water spray, fog, or foam. Let burn unless leak can be stopped immediately.
Fire potential
Very flammable, combustion imminent.
Hazards
Severe explosion hazard when exposed to heat or flame. Irritating vapors are generated when heated. Vapor is heavier than air and may travel considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back. Vapor forms explosive mixtures with air over a wide range. Liquid is not detonable but the vapor may be readily initiated into explosive decomposition.
Combustion products
Irritating vapors generated when heated.
Health
3
 
Flammability
4
 
 
Reactivity
3
 

Health.
Exposure limit(s)
NIOSH REL: Ca TWA <0.1 ppm (0.18 mg/m3) C 5 ppm (9 mg/m3) 10-min/day See Appendix A NIOSH IDLH: Potential occupational carcinogen 800 ppm
Carcinogin
O, G-A2, I-1, N-1, CP65
Poison_Class
1*
Exposure effects
Pulmonary irritation is likely after inhalation; dyspnea may occur. Convulsive movements, twitching, malaise, lethargy, headache, seizures and dizziness have been reported. Serious exposure may result in coma. Chronic exposure may result in peripheral and central nervous system effects, including neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive dysfunction and polyneuropathies. Ethylene oxide has been fetotoxic and teratogenic in experimental animals.
   Ingestion
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may occur.
   Inhalation
Pulmonary irritation is a common symptom after inhalation. Pulmonary edema may be seen with acute exposures. Pneumonia may be a complication of ethylene oxide exposure. A rare report of asthma has also been reported.
   Skin
May be toxic/fatal if absorbed through skin. Contact may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.
   Eyes
Contact may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.

First aid
 
   Ingestion
If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Get medical aid immediately.
   Inhalation
Get medical aid immediately. Remove from exposure to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
   Skin
Get medical aid. Flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Remove contaminated clothing and shoes.
   Eyes
Irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of tepid water for at least 15 minutes. If irritation, pain, swelling, lacrimation, or photophobia persist, the patient should be seen in a health care facility.

Transport.
UN number
1040
Response guide
Hazard class
2.3
PRTC
T
USCG CHRIS Code
EOX
 
Std. Transport #
4920353
 
IMO Gas Code
N