ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences - Propylene Oxide

 

ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences

 


 

PROPYLENE OXIDE (CH3CHCH2O)

SYNONYMS
1,2­Epoxypropane.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
Earth the container before pouring if the container is metal.
Use a fume hood (flame proofed).
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
CHARACTERISTICS
Colourless volatile liquid with an ethereal odour.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
This is a flammable substance that may form explosive peroxides, ensure that any metal containers are earthed before pouring commences otherwise an explosion could occur. It is toxic when inhaled or ingested and is readily absorbed through the skin in doses sufficient to cause toxicity. It has a delayed blistering effect upon the skin. It is an eye and respiratory tract irritant and may burn the eye.
TREATMENTS
Skin ­ remove contaminated clothing and immediately wash the affected area with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists or blistering occurs seek immediate medical attention. Wash contaminated clothing before re­use.
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists or the eye has blistered seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. If irritation persists or signs of toxicity develop seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Seek immediate medical attention.
INCOMPATIBILITY
Peroxides will form slowly in the stored reagent, the process is accelerated upon exposure to air. The peroxides may explode if exposed to heat or flames. Heating produces toxic fumes of carbon.
Sodium hydroxide ­ can react violently.
Oxidising materials ­ can react vigorously.
Copper and other metals ­ form acetylides.
STORAGE
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and incompatible substances.
HANDLING
Use a fume hood (flame proofed) that will keep the level of exposure below the recommended threshold level, ie. 100ppm. If the level of exposure is expected to exceed this level then a respirator is recommended. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves (PVC), safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
DISPOSAL
WEAR:
Rubber gloves, large, heavy face shield (if any doubt also use a body shield) and self contained breathing apparatus.
SPILLS:
Eliminate all sources of ignition. Absorb the spill on a paper towel. Evaporate from an iron pan in a fume hood that is flash proof. Allow time for the vapours to completely escape the hood vents, then burn the paper. If a large spill, absorb using larger quantities of paper or vermiculite. Then proceed as above.
PACKAGE LOTS: Either
1 Pour on the ground in an open area. Allow to evaporate or ignite from a safe distance by means of a long fuse.
OR
2 Dissolve the waste in a high alcohol (eg. butyl), benzene or petroleum ether then incinerate.
OR
3 If ether peroxides are present - DO NOT OPEN THE CONTAINER. Explosions have occurred when stoppers were removed or caps turned. Transport the can or bottle to an isolated area (eg. deserted quarry). Each container or bottle should be wrapped in padding material or packed in sawdust. At the site, uncover the containers and arrange a fuse. from a safe distance puncture the container near the bottom with rifle fire. Ignite the fuse. Always observe local regulations.
ENVIRONMENT:

 


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