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Epichlorohydrin Environmental Health

Safety and Handling Manual
Health Information

Eye contact
 Contact may cause severe irritation with corneal injury, which may result in permanent
impairment of vision, even blindness. Vapor may cause irritation experienced as mild discomfort
and redness.

Skin contact
 Brief contact may result in a burn.
 Prolonged contact may cause severe burns.
 Symptoms may include pain, severe local redness, swelling, and tissue damage. Prolonged or
widespread contact may result in absorption of harmful amounts. Epichlorohydrin has caused
allergic skin reactions in humans.

 Easily attainable vapor concentrations may cause unconsciousness and death.
 Effects may be delayed. Excessive inhalation exposure may cause irritation to the nose and
throat with possible lung injury. Signs and symptoms of excessive exposure may include
difficulty in breathing.

 Epichlorohydrin is moderately toxic if swallowed. Small amounts swallowed incidental to normal
handling operations are not likely to cause injury; however, swallowing large amounts may
cause serious injury, even death. Aspiration into the lungs may occur during ingestion or
vomiting resulting in rapid absorption and injury to other body systems.

Repeated exposure
 In humans, effects have been reported on the kidneys and lungs. In animals, effects have been
reported on the liver and kidneys.

Cancer information
 This material has caused cancer in laboratory animals. Epidemiology studies have not
demonstrated a clear link between human exposure and cancer or heart disease. Other
 In animal studies, epichlorohydrin has been toxic to the fetus, but only at doses that were toxic
to the mother, and has been shown to interfere with fertility in males. Animal genetic toxicity
tests were positive.

2001 .Teratology and Reproductive Effects  In animal studies. or on eye and nose irritability. and that at 25 ppm it is recognized by the majority of persons. These effects were reversible. The following observations come from such examples where unrecognized exposure from contaminated shoes resulted in significant burns:  Leather does not offer suitable protection when handling epichlorohydrin and may magnify the burn potential Even an apparently insignificant exposure can lead to a serious burn if the contact continues for an extended period of time  After leather is contaminated.5 (1. Odor Threshold and Warning Properties  Epichlorohydrin has a chloroform-like.  Sensory perception studies have indicated that the mean threshold for odor recognition of epichlorohydrin is 10 ppm. boots. but only at doses  that were toxic to the mother. Table 1 Key Regional/Country Occupational Exposure Level (OEL) Values for Epichlorohydrin Country/Region OEL Units Comments US: OSHA PEL 5 ppm 19 mg/m3 TWA ACGIH 0. and has been shown to interfere with fertility in males. Occupational Exposure Levels (OELs) have been determined for epichlorohydrin by many authorities and regions. Burn Potential The chemical burn potential with epichlorohydrin is well-known and identified in the SDS as a hazard.9) ppm (mg/m3) TLV-TWA (8 hr).g. A3 (Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans) ACGIH.. which means that odor is not a reliable indicator of potential overexposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established its permissible exposure limit (PEL) for epichlorohydrin at 5 ppm for an 8-hr workday (40 hr/week). epichlorohydrin has been toxic to the fetus. pungent smell with an odor threshold variously reported at values less than 1 part per million (ppm) to 25 ppm. Marked nose and eye irritation occurs at higher exposure levels. as a warning or indicator of potential overexposure. and slicker suits) should be reviewed to ensure their suitability for use  All terminal valves and fittings should be plugged to reduce the likelihood of an accidental exposure Exposure Limits Government exposure limits are subject to periodic revision. it cannot be decontaminated and therefore must be destroyed  The specific manufacturer’s data on personal protective clothing (e. ATTENTION: Workers must not rely on odor. gloves.

such as eye or respiratory irritation or skin rashes. it is particularly important to avoid skin contact with vapor or liquid. good ventilation cannot replace a closed. it can be controlled to maintain vapor concentrations well below occupational exposure limits (See Table 1). whenever possible. leak-tight product handling systems.European Union 1. Contaminated shoes or other articles of clothing should be removed immediately and discarded In the Event of Exposure  • Remove the patient from the exposure area immediately  • Start thorough decontamination procedures at once  • See a physician . kidney. This should be achieved through properly designed. Note: Individuals with medical conditions that involve impairment of the liver. the epichlorohydrin handling facilities should be located outdoors to maximize natural ventilation. Because epichlorohydrin can be absorbed through the skin in toxic quantities. they should be screened with a complete pre-placement examination. or respiratory tract (which may include impairment due to abuse of alcohol) may be restricted from being assigned to jobs where exposure to epichlorohydrin could occur and create additional organ stress. All operations must be designed with engineering controls to minimize personnel exposure Preventive Examinations Before workers are assigned to epichlorohydrin handling operations. epichlorohydrin can be safely handled in closed systems only. belts or watch bands. high vapor pressure. Do not wear leather articles such as shoes. Systems also must be designed to accommodate safety showers and eye washes in the immediate area (less than 8 meters [26 feet] apart) Air Monitoring Due to its toxicity. leak-tight system. liver. First Aid Any symptoms of exposure to epichlorohydrin. Good ventilation is important. heart.52 mg/m3 Protective for Systemic Long-Term and Local Effects Exposure Control Although epichlorohydrin has a very high vapor pressure. and corrosive nature. annual examinations with special attention to lung. For all workers assigned to positions where epichlorohydrin exposure could occur. since leather cannot be decontaminated and can increase localized burn potential by holding the epichlorohydrin against the skin. and kidney functions are suggested. should be reported immediately.9 mg/m3 Proposed as Binding OEL by ACSH in 2012 DNEL 1. However.

or cellulose-based absorbents. If the person is not breathing. Avoid contact with oxidizing materials such as sodium hypochlorite and chlorine. The vapor is an explosion hazard. Call a physician and/or transport to an emergency medical facility. bases. Avoid ignition sources. Epichlorohydrin is stable under recommended storage and use conditions. and strong bases. Workers should be cautioned not to breathe epichlorohydrin vapor. strong acids. if respiratory distress develops. oxygen should be administered by qualified personnel.  • Remember. These instructions should be about the specific hazards of this chemical and decontamination procedures in the event of overexposure. Skin exposure requires immediate showering with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes. Polymerization can be catalyzed by contact with zinc. The clothing should be destroyed and not be re-used. If breathing is difficult. amines. Ignition or flashback could occur. aluminum. belts. lead. which can result in a heat-generating chemical reaction. Elevated temperatures can cause hazardous polymerization. Handling Instructions All employees involved in the handling of epichlorohydrin should receive instructions before they start working with this substance. This material must be stored under nitrogen. Avoid contact with amines.  Contaminated clothing should be removed immediately. give artificial respiration.  • Never give an unconscious person anything by mouth or attempt to induce vomiting  • In all cases. and flame. and clay. Personal Protective Equipment .  Contaminated leather goods should be physically destroyed to prevent accidental reuse. while showering. move the affected person to fresh air. copper. Physical Hazard Information Epichlorohydrin liquid and vapor are flammable. Epichlorohydrin vapor is heavier than air and can travel long distances and accumulate in low-lying areas.  • Do not induce vomiting.  Leather goods (shoes. an uncontrolled chemical reaction that releases a large amount of heat and can rapidly build-up pressure in closed systems. and other) cannot be decontaminated Contaminated leather goods should be physically destroyed to prevent accidental reuse. Electrically bond and ground all containers and handling equipment before transferring or using this material. such as static build-up. secure medical attention at once. Avoid two-phase storage with water. acids. Decontamination  Eye exposure requires immediate and thorough decontamination by irrigating the eye with low- pressure water continuously for at least 15 minutes  Skin contact with the liquid is irritating and capable of causing skin burns. heat. Use soap if available. spark.

The plan should identify the types of approved equipment (including manufacturer. should require medical approval for the individual and a fit-test to ensure effective protection. Specific issues such as the toxicity of epichlorohydrin vapors via the skin and the protection required should be part of the training program. or will a lengthy exposure occur?  Is the exposure likely to occur only once or twice per month as might occur in some unloading operations?  Is single-use equipment desirable? Protective Equipment Training Training of personnel on the use of protective equipment is the key to a successful program. exposure potentials. and maintain each piece of equipment. positive pressure breathing apparatus (SCBA). the types of protective equipment to use for specific situations. after which decontamination can be immediately accomplished. use. and the training on personal protective equipment being provided to workers. the procedures for maintenance. for example. clean. Without a good understanding of the way the protective equipment works and its limitations. Nitrile and neoprene rubber are penetrated more readily. and model). Training should be documented and reviewed with the employee(s) on a regular basis with retraining on a specified and annual basis. supervisory. For unknown concentrations to those substantially above the occupational exposure guide. and storage of the protective equipment. This appraisal should be performed by a qualified industrial hygienist in conjunction with engineering.All system designs should focus on eliminating the need for personal protective equipment. Table 2. Training must also review the proper way to wear. the specific activities being performed. cleaning. Respiratory Protection Where low short-term exposures are anticipated. Clothing Parameters Item Considerations Clothing Gloves. use full face respirator with organic vapor or organic vapor/acid gas cartridges. required training. An overall written plan to control exposures should be developed. However. . Issues to consider when selecting personal protective equipment and managing equipment programs include:  Is there a practical way to reduce the expected exposure by changes in either equipment use or procedures?  Is the exposure likely to be at levels above the occupational exposure limits?  Is the exposure likely to be of very short duration. and management staff. personal protective equipment may be required in certain operations. and other issues. An overall appraisal should be made of the plant operation. Boots Butyl rubber appears to provide the best inherent barrier properties. and the correct maintenance procedures. The selection and use requirements of personal protective equipment demand careful management consideration. Laminate constructions containing SARAN™ Resins or polyvinyl alcohol can be designed to provide various levels of barrier. use positive pressure supplied air or self- contained. such as in the event of a system failure. make. expected exposure duration. the expected protection factors are unlikely to be achieved. The use of respirators. or in areas where exposure to vapor or liquid is possible. maintenance.

Full face shield if splashes may occur. Environmental Information The use pattern of epichlorohydrin in epoxy resins and as an industrial intermediate in closed systems indicates a limited potential for damage to the environment.000 kg/year in the United States from all industries). . For emergency situations use self-contained. It hydrolyzes (breaks down) in water and is degraded in the air by hydroxyl radicals. a full face respirator can be used. Epichlorohydrin is unlikely to persist in the environment. positive pressure breathing apparatus. Consistent with this use pattern. or self- contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) be used depending on conditions when respiratory protection is required. if splashes of epichlorohydrin are unlikely to occur. including removal by biological wastewater-treatment facilities Epichlorohydrin is not likely to accumulate in the food chain (bio-concentration potential is low) and is considered slightly to moderately toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms on an acute basis Note: The MSDS/SDS on epichlorohydrin suggests that air purifying respirators. It is considered readily biodegradable (BOD20 >40%). Alternatively. Eye Protection Chemical workers’ goggles. supplied air. estimates of releases to the environment are small (approximately 100. which suggests that it will be removed from water and soil environments.