Agent Name

Propylene oxide

Alternative Name

1,2-Epoxypropane

CAS Number

75-56-9

Formula

C3-H6-O

Major Category

Pesticides

Synonyms

1,2-Epoxy propane; Methyl ethylene oxide; Methyloxirane; Propene oxide; 1,2-Propylene oxide; 1,2-Epoxypropane; 1,2-Epoxypropane; [NIOSH]

Category

Fumigants

Description

Colorless liquid with a benzene-like odor. [Note: A gas above 94 degrees F.] [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used mainly as a chemical intermediate; it has been used as a food fumigant (dried fruit and bulk), but use was restricted in 1996 by the EPA. [ACGIH] Used to prepare slides for electron microscopy and to disinfect the skin; [Kanerva, p. 1831]

Comments

Liquid causes first degree burns on short exposure. [CHRIS] Allergic contact dermatitis reported in a worker swabbing skin with a disinfectant; [Kanerva, p. 1831] Can cause CNS depression and severe eye injuries; A respiratory irritant that may cause pulmonary edema; [CAMEO] Causes mild CNS depression in animals after inhalation of high concentrations; A nasal carcinogen in rodents at concentrations causing irritation; NOAEL is 50 ppm; Detoxified more rapidly than ethylene oxide, and this is one of the reasons for the lower carcinogenic potency of propylene oxide; A dermal sensitizer; [ACGIH]

Restricted

Restricted use as a food fumigant by EPA in 1996 because of Delaney clause (animal carcinogen); [ACGIH]

Reference Link

Contact allergy to propylene oxide

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

TLV (ACGIH)

2 ppm

PEL (OSHA)

100 ppm

MAK

2 ppm

IDLH (NIOSH)

400 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The chosen IDLH is based on the dog 4hour LCLO of 2,005 ppm and the mouse 4hour LC50 of 1,740 ppm [Jacobson et al. 1956 cited by NIOSH 1976]. . . . Human data: None relevant for use in determining the revised IDLH.

Vapor Pressure

445 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

10 ppm

Odor Threshold High

199 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 4,000 ppm/4H

Explanatory Notes

Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 45 ppm); Flash point = -35 deg F; [CHEMINFO]

Reference Link

ICSC: Propylene oxide

Flammability (NFPA)

4: Burns readily

Adverse Effects
Skin Sensitizer

Yes

Toxic Pneumonitis

Yes

Neurotoxin

Other CNS Neurotoxin

Dermatotoxin

Skin Burns

IARC Carcinogen

Possible Carcinogen

NTP Carcinogen

Anticipated Human Carcinogen

ACGIH Carcinogen

Confirmed Animal

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

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Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

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Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: