Agent Name

Ethyl alcohol

Alternative Name

Ethanol

CAS Number

64-17-5

Formula

C2-H6-O

Major Category

Solvents

Synonyms

1-Hydroxyethane; Absolute ethanol; Aethanol [German]; Aethylalkohol [German]; Alcohol; Alcohol (ethyl alcohol); Alcohol dehydrated; Alcohol, anhydrous; Alcohol, diluted; Alcohol, ethyl; Alcohols; Alcool ethylique [French]; Alcool etilico [Italian]; Algrain; Alkohol [German]; Alkoholu etylowego [Polish]; Anhydrol; Cologne Spirit; Denatured alcohol; Denatured alcohol CD-10; Denatured alcohol CD-5; Denatured alcohol CD-5a; Denatured alcohol SD-1; Denatured alcohol SD-13a; Denatured alcohol SD-17; Denatured alcohol SD-23a; Denatured alcohol SD-28; Denatured alcohol SD-30; Denatured alcohol SD-39b; Denatured alcohol SD-39c; Denatured alcohol SD-3a; Denatured alcohol SD-40m; Denatured ethanol; EtOH; Etanolo [Italian]; Ethanol 200 proof; Ethanol [JAN]; Ethanol solution; Ethyl alcohol; Ethyl alcohol & water, 10%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 20%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 30%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 40%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 5%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 50%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 60%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 70%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 80%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 95%; Ethyl alcohol & water, 96%; Ethyl alcohol anhydrous; Ethyl alcohol usp; Ethyl hydrate; Ethyl hydroxide; Ethylalcohol [Dutch]; Etylowy alkohol [Polish]; Fermentation alcohol; Grain alcohol; Hydroxyethane; Jaysol S; Methylcarbinol; Molasses alcohol; Potato alcohol; SD Alchol 23-hydrogen; Spirits of wine; Tecsol; Tecsol C; [ChemIDplus] UN1987; UN1170

Category

Alcohols (<C12)

Description

Clear, colorless liquid with a weak, ethereal, vinous odor; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

"Clear, colorless liquid rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and distributed throughout the body. It has bactericidal activity and is used often as a topical disinfectant. It is widely used as a solvent and preservative in pharmaceutical preparations as well as serving as the primary ingredient in ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES." [ChemIDplus]

Comments

Drinking alcoholic beverages is a known human carcinogen listed by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). "Alcohol consumption causes cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, colorectum, liver (hepatocellular carcinoma) and female breast." [Reference #2] That ethyl alcohol is unlikely to be an occupational carcinogen is reflected by its classification as "5" by MAC. MAC defines "5" as, "Substances with carcinogenic and genotoxic effects, the potency of which is considered to be so low that, provided the MAK and BAT values are observed, no significant contribution to human cancer risk is to be expected." Drinking alcoholic beverages is also a reproductive hazard, causing fetal alcohol syndrome. Low level occupational exposures are not likely to harm the fetus. [Frazier, p. 175-7] Inhalation of high concentrations can cause CNS depression; An eye and respiratory tract irritant; [ICSC] Suspected germ cell mutagen (3B); [MAK] Causes non-immunological contact urticaria; [Kanerva, p. 219]

Reference Link

National Toxicology Program Report on Carcinogens, 12th Edition

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

STEL (ACGIH)

1000 ppm

PEL (OSHA)

1000 ppm

MAK

500 ppm

IDLH (NIOSH)

3300 ppm

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Human data: It was reported in a clinical study that concentrations greater than 20,900 ppm were intolerably irritating and 15,000 ppm caused continuous lacrimation and coughing while concentrations between 5,200 and 10,400 ppm allowed work to be carried on, but with a certain amount of discomfort [Lester and Greenberg 1951]. In this same study, it was determined that 62% of the ethyl alcohol inhaled was absorbed [Lester and Greenberg 1951].

Vapor Pressure

59.3 mm Hg

Odor Threshold Low

49 ppm

Odor Threshold High

716 ppm

RD50

27314 ppm

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 20,000 ppm/10H

Explanatory Notes

IDLH = 10% LEL; Detection odor threshold from AIHA (mean = 180 ppm); Flash point = 55 deg F;

Reference Link

IARC 2012: Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

Flammability (NFPA)

3: May ignite at ambient temperature

Adverse Effects
Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Neurotoxin

CNS Solvent Syndrome

Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

ACGIH Carcinogen

Confirmed Animal

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

Search TOXNET

Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: