IAQUK Resources - Ethyl Acetate
Source of pollution
Ethyl acetate is primarily used as a solvent and
diluent, being favoured because of its low cost, low toxicity, and agreeable
odour. For example, it is commonly used to clean circuit
boards and in some nail varnish removers (acetone and acetonitrile are also
used). Coffee beans and tea leaves are decaffeinated with this solvent. It is
also used in paints as an activatoror hardener. Ethyl Acetate is
present in confectionery, perfumes, and fruits such as apple flavour in chewing
Ethyl Acetate is widely employed as a solvent for nail varnishes and nail varnish
Industrially, it is used to decaffeinate coffee
beans and tea leaves.
In chemistry, it is often mixed with a non-polar
solvent such as hexanes as a chromatography solvent. It is also used as a
solvent for extractions.
It is used in confectionery and perfumes. It is
used in perfumes because it confers a fruity smell (as do many esters) and
evaporates quickly, leaving the scent of the perfume on the skin.
It is used in paints as an activatoror hardener.
Ethyl Acetate is a by-product of fermentation and
is present in fruits and wines.
The aroma of Ethyl Acetate is most vivid in younger
wines and contributes towards the general perception of "fruitiness"
in the wine. Sensitivity varies, with most people having a perception threshold
around 120 mg/L. Excessive amounts of Ethyl Acetate are considered a
contaminant at relatively high concentrations and is regarded as an
off-flavour. Exposure to oxygen can exacerbate the fault due to the oxidation
of Ethanol to Acetaldehyde, which leaves the wine with a sharp vinegar-like
Used as a solvent in dry cleaning and for lacquers, varnishes and stains.
Liberated during manufacture of smokeless powder;
during manufacture of artificial silk and leather; and during preparation of
photographic films and plates.
Liberated and used as a solvent during application
of coatings and lacquers containing nitrocellulose, cellulose acetate, and
cellulose nitrate, shellac, synthetic rubber, vinyl resins, and inks; used for contact lens mould release.
Liberated during manufacture of linoleum and
plastic wood, dyes and pharmaceuticals.
Ethyl Acetate is detectable at 7 to 50 ppm.
Ethyl Acetate is an irritant of the eyes and upper respiratory tract at
concentrations above 400 ppm.
Ethyl Acetate causes irritation, redness, and tearing of the eyes. Sensitization of
the lining of the nose may occur with symptoms of inflammation (swelling, runny
nose, redness of lining).
Prolonged exposures may cause clouding of the eye, damage to the lungs
and heart and kidney and liver problems. Its carcinogenic
properties are not known.
No biological monitoring test acceptable for routine use has
yet been developed for Ethyl Acetate.
Therefore baseline medical screening tests focuses on identifying the
adverse effects of Ethyl Acetate by sampling and analyzing body tissues or fluids to
provide an index of exposure to a toxic substances or metabolite. With
particular focus on the respiratory system, liver, kidneys and blood.
Technical - Ethyl Acetate - CH3-COO-CH2-CH3
- Fruit-like odour
- Detectable in the air at 7 - 50ppm
- CAS Number: 14-78-6
LTEL - 200ppm
STEL - 400ppm
- Risk Phrases: R11, 36, 66, 67
- Safety Phrases: S16, 23, 29, 33
Ethyl Acetate (also known Ethyl Ethanoate, Acetic
Acid, Ethyl Ester, Acetic Ether, Acetidin, Vinegar Naphtha, 1-Acetoxyethane).
It is the organic compound with the formula CH3COOCH2CH3.
Ethyl Acetate has many uses, such as artificial
fruit essences and aroma enhancers, artificial flavours for confectionery, ice
cream and cakes. This colorless liquid has a characteristic sweet
smell, similar to pear drops. Ethyl Acetate is the ester of
ethanol and acetic acid; it is manufactured on a large scale for use as a solvent in many
applications including decaffeinating tea and coffee, for varnishes and paints, nail
varnish remover and for the manufacture of printing inks and perfumes.
Acid and alcohol combine during fermentation to
produce esters, one of which is Ethyl Acetate which produces a slightly sweet,
fruity, vinegary smell. (Ester is a class of organic compounds corresponding
to the inorganic salts and formed from an organic acid and an alcohol).