Agent Name

Acetonitrile

CAS Number

75-05-8

Formula

C2-H3-N

Major Category

Nitrogen Compounds

Synonyms

Acetonitril [German, Dutch]; Acetonitrile; Cyanomethane; Cyanure de methyl [French]; Ethanenitrile; Ethyl nitrile; Methane, cyano-; Methanecarbonitrile; Methyl cyanide; Methylkyanid [Czech]; [ChemIDplus] UN1648

Category

Nitriles

Description

Colorless liquid with an aromatic odor; Note: Forms cyanide in the body; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used as a solvent for extraction of hydrocarbons, for separation of fatty acids from vegetable oils, and as a specialty solvent; [ACGIH]

Comments

In subchronic animal studies, histopathological liver effects occur. In a human inhalation study, all five subjects detected the odor at 40 ppm, the initial concentration of the experiment. After two or three hours, some olfactory fatigue was observed. A fatality was reported in a worker who painted for 2 days in a confined space with a resin containing 30-40% acetonitrule. [ACGIH] Cases have been reported of children developing symptoms of cyanide poisoning within hours of drinking acetonitrile-based artificial nail remover. [ATSDR Case Studies # 15] In reproductive studies of experimental animals, acetonitrile causes fetal skeletal abnormalities. [Frazier, p. 349-50]

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

20 ppm

PEL (OSHA)

40 ppm

MAK

20 ppm

IDLH (NIOSH)

500 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Exposures to 160 ppm for 4 hours has caused flushing of the face and a feeling of constriction in the chest; exposures to 500 ppm for brief (undefined) time periods has resulted in only irritation to the nose and throat [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969].

Vapor Pressure

88.8 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

40 ppm

Odor Threshold High

1161 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 7,551 ppm/8H

Explanatory Notes

Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 1160 ppm); Flash point = 12.8 deg C

Half Life

Whole body: 15-32 hours; [TDR, p. 23]

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Other Poison

Chemical Asphyxiant

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

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Health Studies

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