Ethylene Oxide
Structural Formula Vector Image
Title: Ethylene Oxide
CAS Registry Number: 75-21-8
CAS Name: Oxirane
Trademarks: Anprolene
Molecular Formula: C2H4O
Molecular Weight: 44.05
Percent Composition: C 54.53%, H 9.15%, O 36.32%
Literature References: Prepd from ethylene chlorohydrin and KOH: A. Wurtz, Ann. 110, 125 (1859). Manuf by catalytic oxidation of ethylene: T. E. Lefort, US 1998878 (1935 to Société Française de Catalyse Généralisée) reissued as US RE 20370 (1937 to Carbide and Carbon). Physical props: W. H. Perkin, J. Chem. Soc. 63, 488 (1893). Leukemia in workers exposed to ethylene oxide: C. Hogstedt et al., J. Am. Med. Assoc. 241, 1132 (1979). Hazards and handling: L. G. Hess, V. V. Tilton, Ind. Eng. Chem. 42, 1251 (1950). Genotoxicity: E. Agurell et al., Mutat. Res. 250, 229 (1991). Review of toxicology and human exposure: Toxicological Profile for Ethylene Oxide (PB91-180554, 1990) 115 pp; of carcinogenic risk: IARC Monographs 60, 73-159 (1994). Review: H. C. Schultze in Glycols, G. O. Curme, Jr., Ed. (Reinhold, New York, 1952) pp 74-113; J. P. Dever et al., in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 9 (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 4th ed., 1994) pp 915-959.
Properties: Colorless, flammable gas at ordinary room temp and pressure; liquid below 12°. Explosive! bp 10.7°. d44 0.891, d77 0.887, d1010 0.882. mp -111°. nD7 1.3597. Sol in water, alcohol, ether.
Melting point: mp -111°
Boiling point: bp 10.7°
Index of refraction: nD7 1.3597
Density: d44 0.891; d77 0.887; d1010 0.882
CAUTION: Potential symptoms of overexposure are irritation of eyes, skin, nose and throat; peculiar taste; headache; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; dyspnea, cyanosis and pulmonary edema; drowsiness, incoordination; EKG abnormalities; reproductive effects; direct contact with liquid or high vapor concentrations may cause burns to eyes and skin; direct contact with liquid may cause frostbite. See NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (DHHS/NIOSH 97-140, 1997) p 138. This substance is listed as a known human carcinogen: Report on Carcinogens, Eleventh Edition (PB2005-104914, 2004) p III-118.
Use: Fumigant for foodstuffs and textiles; to sterilize surgical instruments; agricultural fungicide. In organic syntheses, esp in the production of ethylene glycol. Starting material for the manuf of acrylonitrile and nonionic surfactants.

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