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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 16. Control of Hazardous Substances
Article 110. Regulated Carcinogens
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§5213. Acrylonitrile, Appendix A

Substance Safety Sheet for Acrylonitrile

I. Substance Identification

A. Substance: Acrylonitrile (CH2 = CHCN).

B. Synonyms: Acrylic nitrile; vinyl cyanide; cyanoethylene; AN; VCN; Acrylon; Carbacryl; Fumigrain; Ventox; propenenitrile.

C. Acrylonitrile can be found as a liquid or vapor, and can also be found in polymer resins, plastics, polyols, and other polymers having acrylonitrile as a raw or intermediate material.

D. AN is used in the manufacture of acrylic and modacrylic fibers, acrylic plastics and resins, specialty polymers, nitrile rubbers, and other organic chemicals. It has also been used as a fumigant.

E. Appearance and Odor: Colorless to pale yellow liquid with a pungent odor which can only be detected at concentrations above the permissible exposure level, in a range of 13-19 parts AN per million parts of air (13-19 ppm).

F. Exposure may not exceed either:

1. Two parts AN per million parts of air (2 ppm) averaged over the eight-hour workday; or

2. Ten parts AN per million parts of air (10 ppm) averaged over any 15-minute period in the workday.

3. In addition, skin and eye contact with liquid AN is prohibited.

II. Health Hazard Data

A. Acrylonitrile can affect your body if you inhale the vapor (breathing), if it comes in contact with your eyes or skin, or if you swallow it. It may enter your body through your skin.

B. Effects of Overexposure:

1. Short-Term Exposure: Acrylonitrile causes eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, headache, sneezing, weakness, and lightheadedness. At high concentrations, the effects of exposure may go on to loss of consciousness and death. When acrylonitrile is held in contact with the skin after being absorbed into shoe leather or clothing, it may produce blisters following several hours of no apparent effect. Unless the shoes or clothing are removed immediately and the area washed, blistering will occur. Usually there is no pain or inflammation associated with blister formation.

2. Long-Term Exposure: Acrylonitrile has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and has been associated with higher incidences of cancer in humans. Repeated or prolonged exposure of the skin to acrylonitrile may produce irritation and dermatitis.

3. Reporting Signs and Symptoms: You should inform your employer if you develop any signs or symptoms which may be caused by exposure to acrylonitrile.

III. Emergency First-aid Procedures

A. Eye Exposure: If acrylonitrile gets into your eyes, wash your eyes immediately with large amounts of water, lifting the lower and upper lids occasionally. Get medical attention immediately. Contact lenses should not be worn when working with this chemical.

B. Skin Exposure: If acrylonitrile gets on your skin, immediately wash the contaminated skin with water. If acrylonitrile soaks through your clothing, especially your shoes, remove the clothing immediately and wash the skin with water. If symptoms occur after washing, get medical attention immediately. Thoroughly wash the clothing before re-using. Contaminated leather shoes or other leather articles should be discarded.

C. Inhalation: If you or any other person breathes in large amounts of acrylonitrile, move the exposed person to fresh air at once. If breathing has stopped, perform artificial respiration. Keep the affected person warm and at rest. Get medical attention as soon as possible.

D. Swallowing: When acrylonitrile has been swallowed, give the person large quantities of water immediately. After the water has been swallowed, try to get the person to vomit by having him touch the back of his throat with his finger. Do not make an unconscious person vomit. Get medical attention immediately.

E. Rescue: Move the affected person from the hazardous exposure. If the exposed person has been overcome, notify someone else and put into effect the established emergency procedures. Do not become a casualty yourself. Understand your emergency rescue procedures and know the locations of the emergency equipment before the need arises.

F. Special First-Aid Procedures: First-aid kits containing an adequate supply (at least two dozen) of amyl nitrite pearls (ampules), each containing 0.3 ml, should be maintained at each site where acrylonitrile is used. When a person is suspected of receiving an overexposure to acrylonitrile, immediately remove that person from the contaminated area using established rescue procedures. Contaminated clothing must be removed and the acrylonitrile washed from the skin immediately. Artificial respiration should be started at once if breathing has stopped. If the person is unconscious, amyl nitrite may be used as an antidote by a properly-trained individual in accordance with established emergency procedures. Medical aid should be obtained immediately.

IV. Respirators and Protective Clothing

A. Respirators: You may be required to wear a respirator for non-routine activities, in emergencies, and while your employer is in the process of reducing acrylonitrile exposures through engineering controls. If respirators are worn, they must have a label issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under the provisions of 42 CFR part 84 stating that the respirators have been approved for use with organic vapors. For effective protection, respirators must fit your face and head snugly. Respirators should not be loosened or removed in work situations where their use is required.

Acrylonitrile does not have a detectable odor except at levels above the permissible exposure limit. Do not depend on odor to warn you when a respirator cartridge or canister is exhausted. Cartridges or canisters must be changed daily. Reuse of these may allow acrylonitrile to gradually filter through the cartridge and cause exposures which you cannot detect by odor. If you can smell acrylonitrile while wearing a respirator, the respirator is not working correctly. Go immediately to fresh air. If you experience difficulty breathing while wearing a respirator, tell your employer.

B. Supplied-Air Suits: In some work situations, the wearing of supplied-air suits may be necessary. Your employer should instruct you in their proper use and operation.

C. Protective Clothing: You must wear impervious clothing, gloves, face shield, or other appropriate protective clothing to prevent skin contact with liquid acrylonitrile. Where protective clothing is required, your employer is required to provide clean garments to you as necessary to assure that the clothing protects you adequately. Replace or repair impervious clothing that has developed leaks. Acrylonitrile should never be allowed to remain on the skin. Clothing and shoes which are not impervious to acrylonitrie, should not be allowed to be contaminated with acrylonitrile, and if they do, the clothing and shoes should be promptly removed and decontaminated. The clothing should be laundered or discarded after the AN is removed. Once acrylonitrile penetrates shoe leather, or other leather articles, the article should not be worn again.

D. Eye Protection: You must wear splash-proof safety goggles in areas where liquid acrylonitrile may contact your eyes. In addition contact lenses should not be worn when working with acrylonitrile.

V. Precautions for Safe Use, Handling, and Storage

A. Acrylonitrile is a flammable liquid and its vapors can easily form explosive mixtures in air.

B. Acrylonitrile must be stored in tightly-closed containers in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from heat, sparks, flames, strong oxidizers (especially bromine), strong bases, copper, copper alloys, ammonia, and amines.

C. Sources of ignition such as smoking and open flames are prohibited wherever acrylonitrile is handled, used, or stored in a manner that could create a potential fire or explosion hazard.

D. You should use non-sparking tools when opening or closing metal containers of acrylonitrile, and containers must be bonded and grounded when pouring or transferring liquid acrylonitrile.

E. You must immediately remove any non-impervious clothing that becomes contaminated with acrylonitrile, and this clothing must not be reworn until the acrylonitrile is removed from the clothing.

F. Impervious clothing wet with liquid acrylonitrile can be easily ignited. This clothing must be washed down with water before you remove it.

G. If your skin becomes wet with liquid acrylonitrile, you must promptly and thoroughly wash or shower with soap or mild detergent to remove any acrylonitrile from your skin.

H. You must not keep food, beverages, or smoking materials nor are you permitted to eat or smoke in regulated areas where acrylonitrile concentrations are above the permissible exposure limits.

I. If you handle acrylonitrile, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap or mild detergent and water before eating, smoking, or using toilet facilities.

J. Fire extinguishers and quick drenching facilities must be readily available, and you should know where they are and how to operate them.

K. Ask your supervisor where acrylonitrile is used in your work area and for any additional plant safety and health rules.

VI. Access to Information

A. Each year, your employer is required to inform you of information contained in this Substance Safety Data Sheet for acrylonitrile. In addition, your employer must instruct you in the proper work practices for using acrylonitrile, emergency procedures, and the correct use of protective equipment.

B. Your employer is required to determine whether you are being exposed to acrylonitrile. You or your representative has the right to observe employee exposure measurements and to record the results obtained. Your employer is require to inform you of your exposure. If your employer determines that you are being overexposed, he or she is required to inform you of the actions which are being taken to reduce your exposure to within permissible exposure limits.

C. Your employer is required to keep records of your exposures and medical examination. These records must be kept by the employer for at least forty (40) years or for the period of your employment plus twenty (20) years, whichever is longer.

D. Upon the request of either you or your collective bargaining agent, if any, your employer is required to release your exposure records, or a copy thereof. Upon your request, your employer is required to provide a copy of your medical records to you or to any individual or organization designated by you.

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