Ca TWA <0.1ppm (0.18mg/m3) C 5ppm (9mg/m3) [10-min/day]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
Safety data sheet (SDS)
Aziridine, Thiirane, Borirane
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Yverify (what is YN ?)
Ethylene oxide is an organic compound with the formula C2H4O. It is a cyclic ether and the simplest epoxide: a three-membered ring consisting of one oxygen atom and two carbon atoms. Ethylene oxide is a colorless and flammable gas with a faintly sweet odor. Because it is a strained ring, ethylene oxide easily participates in a number of addition reactions that result in ring-opening. Ethylene oxide is isomeric with acetaldehyde and with vinyl alcohol. Ethylene oxide is industrially produced by oxidation of ethylene in the presence of silver catalyst.
The reactivity that is responsible for many of ethylene oxide's hazards also makes it useful. Although too dangerous for direct household use and generally unfamiliar to consumers, ethylene oxide is used for making many consumer products as well as non-consumer chemicals and intermediates. These products include detergents, thickeners, solvents, plastics, and various organic chemicals such as ethylene glycol, ethanolamines, simple and complex glycols, polyglycol ethers, and other compounds. Although it is a vital raw material with diverse applications, including the manufacture of products like polysorbate 20 and polyethylene glycol (PEG) that are often more effective and less toxic than alternative materials, ethylene oxide itself is a very hazardous substance. At room temperature it is a very flammable, carcinogenic, mutagenic, irritating, and anaesthetic gas.
Ethylene oxide is a surface disinfectant that is widely used in hospitals and the medical equipment industry to replace steam in the sterilization of heat-sensitive tools and equipment, such as disposable plastic syringes. It is so flammable and extremely explosive that it is used as a main component of thermobaric weapons; therefore, it is commonly handled and shipped as a refrigerated liquid to control its hazardous nature.
^International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2014). Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013. The Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 714. doi:10.1039/9781849733069. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.
^ abcdeHaynes, p. 3.430
^Ethylene oxide, odor
^ abcdNIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0275". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
^Haynes, p. 3.576
^ abcHaynes, p. 15.20
^ abcdHaynes, p. 5.22
^"Ethylene oxide 387614". Sigma-Aldrich. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 1 September 2020. Alt URL
^"Ethylene oxide". Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
^ abRebsdat, Siegfried and Mayer, Dieter (2005) "Ethylene Oxide" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a10_117.
^McKetta, John J.; Cunningham, William A. (1984). Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design. Vol. 20. CRC Press. p. 309. ISBN 0-8247-2470-4.
^Cite error: The named reference e1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
^Cite error: The named reference e2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
^Ethylene Oxide Sterilization: Are ETO Treated Spices Safe?, SuperFoodly, 10 April 2017