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These guidelines were developed under contract using
generally accepted secondary sources. The protocol used by the contractor for
surveying these data sources was developed by the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). The information
contained in these guidelines is intended for reference purposes only. None of
the agencies have conducted a comprehensive check of the information and data
contained in these sources. It provides a summary of information about
chemicals that workers may be exposed to in their workplaces. The secondary
sources used for supplements III and IV were published before 1992 and 1993,
respectively, and for the remainder of the guidelines the secondary sources
used were published before September 1996. This information may be superseded
by new developments in the field of industrial hygiene. Therefore readers are
advised to determine whether new information is available.
This guideline summarizes pertinent information about
ethanolamine for workers and employers as well as for physicians, industrial
hygienists, and other occupational safety and health professionals who may need
such information to conduct effective occupational safety and health programs.
Recommendations may be superseded by new developments in these fields; readers
are therefore advised to regard these recommendations as general guidelines and
to determine whether new information is available.
For Structure, see paper copy)
Ethylolamine, monoethanolamine, beta-aminoethyl alcohol, aminoethanol,
- CAS No.: 141-43-5
- RTECS No.: KJ5775000
- DOT UN: 2491 60
- DOT label: Corrosive
* Appearance and odor
Ethanolamine is a colorless, viscous, flammable liquid with a fishy,
ammonia-like odor. Air odor threshold concentrations ranging from 2 to 4 parts
per million (ppm) parts of air have been reported.
CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
* Physical data
- Molecular weight: 61.1
- Boiling point (at 760 mm Hg): 170.5 degrees C (338.9 degrees F)
- Specific gravity (water = 1): 1.02 at 20 degrees C (68 degrees F)
- Vapor density: 2.1
- Melting point: 10.3 degrees C (51 degrees F)
- Vapor pressure at 20 degrees C (68 degrees F): 0.4 mm Hg
- Solubility: Miscible in water, acetone, methanol, and water.
- Evaporation rate: Data not available.
- Conditions contributing to instability: Heat, sparks, or open flame.
- Incompatibilities: Contact between ethanolamine and strong oxidizers, strong
acids, or iron should be avoided.
- Hazardous decomposition products: Toxic gases and vapors (such as oxides of
nitrogen and carbon monoxide) may be released in a fire involving ethanolamine.
- Special precautions: Liquid ethanolamine will attack some forms of plastic,
rubber, and coatings.
The National Fire Protection Association has assigned a flammability rating of 2
(moderate fire hazard) to ethanolamine.
- Flash point: 85 degrees C (185 degrees F)
- Auto-ignition temperature: 410 degrees C (770 degrees F)
- Flammable limits in air (percent by volume): Lower, 5.5 (estimated); upper,
- Extinguishant: For small fires use dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray,
or regular foam. Use water spray, fog, or regular foam to fight large fires
Fires involving ethanolamine should be fought upwind from the maximum distance
possible. Keep unnecessary people away; isolate the hazard area and deny entry.
Emergency personnel should stay out of low areas. Containers of ethanolamine may
explode in the heat of the fire and should be moved from the fire area if it is
possible to do so safely. If this is not possible, cool fire exposed containers
from the sides with water until well after the fire is out. Stay away from the
ends of containers. Firefighters should wear a full set of protective clothing
and self-contained breathing apparatus when fighting fires involving
* OSHA PEL
The current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible
exposure limit (PEL) for ethanolamine is 3 ppm (6 milligrams per cubic meter
(mg/m(3))) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration [29 CFR
1910.1000, Table Z-1].
* NIOSH REL
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has
established a recommended exposure limit (REL) for ethanolamine of 3 ppm (8
mg/m(3)) as a TWA for up to a 10-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek and a
short-term exposure limit (STEL) of 6 ppm (15 mg/m(3)) for periods not to exceed
15 minutes [NIOSH 1992].
* ACGIH TLV
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has
assigned ethanolamine a threshold limit value (TLV) of 3 ppm mg/m(3)) as a TWA
for a normal 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek and a short-term exposure
limit (STEL) of 6 ppm (15 mg/m(3)) for periods not to exceed 15 minutes.
Exposures at the STEL concentration should not be repeated more than four times
a day and should be separated by intervals of at least 60 minutes [ACGIH 1994,
* Rationale for Limits
The NIOSH limits are based on the risk of skin, eye, and respiratory irritation;
and narcotic effects [NIOSH 1992].
The ACGIH limits are based on the risk of systemic effects [ACGIH p. 561].
HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
* Routes of Exposure
Exposure to ethanolamine can occur through inhalation, ingestion, eye or skin
contact, and absorption through the skin [Sittig 1991].
* Summary of toxicology
- Effects on Animals: Ethanolamine is irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs, and
at high concentrations, it causes central nervous system depression in exposed
animals [Hathaway et al. 1991]. The LD(50)s for acute oral exposure are 2,140
mg/kg and 700 mg/kg in rats and mice, respectively. The dermal LD(50) in rabbits
is 1,000 mg/kg [Sax and Lewis 1989]. In a 90-day study of subacute oral
toxicity, rats exposed to a maximum daily dose of 320 mg/kg ethanolamine showed
no effects. At 640 mg/kg, altered kidney and liver weights were noted, and at
1,200 mg/kg, microscopic pathological changes were noted in the liver and
kidneys [Clayton and Clayton 1982]. When dogs and cats were exposed to 990 ppm
for 7 hours/day for 4 days, all animals survived. However, four of six guinea
pigs exposed to 233 ppm for 1 hour died. Among animals exposed to approximately
100 ppm, respiratory distress, lethargy, and mild degenerative changes in the
liver and kidneys were noted [Hathaway et al. 1991; Gosselin 1984; Clayton and
Clayton 1982]. Skin irritation, lethargy, and temporary weight loss have been
reported in animals exposed to 12 ppm or less [ACGIH 1991]. Contact of the pure
liquid with the skin caused mild skin irritation in rabbits. Instillation in the
eyes of rabbits caused severe irritationgrade 9 on a scale of 1 to 10).
Neutralized ethanolamine solutions do not cause eye damage [Grant 1986; Hathaway
et al. 1991].
- Effects on Humans: Ethanolamine is an irritant of the eyes, skin, and lungs.
At high concentrations in animals, inhalation causes lung irritation, and the
same effect is likely in humans. It is a mild irritant of human skin; the liquid
applied to the skin for 1.5 hours produced marked redness but no other problems
[Hathaway et al. 1991]. Following ingestion, the alkalinity of ethanolamine will
produce mucosal burns of the mouth and esophagus [Gosselin 1984].
* Signs and symptoms of exposure
- Acute exposure: Exposure to ethanolamine vapor or liquid can cause irritation
of the eyes and, in high concentrations, can be expected to cause severe burns
of the eyes with pain, tearing, and inflammation. Skin exposure will produce
local areas of redness and perhaps pain. If ingested, burning of the mouth,
difficulty swallowing, chest pain, increased salivation, nausea, and vomiting
can be expected.
- Chronic exposure: No signs or symptoms of chronic exposure to ethanolamine
have been reported in humans.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROCEDURES
* Emergency medical procedures: [NIOSH to supply]
Rescue: Remove an incapacitated worker from further exposure and implement
appropriate emergency procedures (e.g., those listed on the Material Safety Data
Sheet required by OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200]). All
workers should be familiar with emergency procedures, the location and proper
use of emergency equipment, and methods of protecting themselves during rescue
EXPOSURE SOURCES AND CONTROL METHODS
The following operations may involve ethanolamine and lead to worker exposures
to this substance:
- The manufacture and transportation of ethanolamine
- Use in recovery and removal of acid gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and
hydrogen sulfide) from natural, fuel, and process gas; in algicides; in dry ice
- Use in production of monoalkanolamides for nonionic detergents, emulsifiers, and
soaps; in dry cleaning; in wool treatment; in fuel oil additives and
water-in-oil emulsifiers; as a corrosion inhibitor; in electroplating; in
pharmaceuticals; as a dispersing agent for agricultural chemicals; in
hair-waving solutions; as cross-linking agents in polyurethanes and chelating
agents; in cosmetics, emulsion paints, polishes, and cleansers
- Use during synthesis of acelethanolamine, in manufacture of inks, paper, glues,
textiles, and polishes; in synthesis of phenylethanolamine for acetate rayon
dyes, dyestuffs; in synthesis of tolyethanolamine
- Use during synthesis of 2-mercaptothiazole in rubber vulcanization acceleration;
as a softening agent for hides Chemical intermediate for fatty ethanolamines;
use as an accelerator in the manufacture of antibiotics and in synthesis of
Methods that are effective in controlling worker exposures to ethanolamine,
depending on the feasibility of implementation, are as follows:
- Process enclosure Local exhaust ventilation General dilution ventilation
Personal protective equipment
- Workers responding to a release or potential release of a hazardous substance
must be protected as required by paragraph (q) of OSHA's Hazardous Waste
Operations and Emergency Response Standard [29 CFR
Good sources of information about control methods are as follows:
- ACGIH . Industrial ventilation--a manual of recommended practice. 21st
ed. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
- Burton DJ . Industrial ventilation--a self study companion. Cincinnati,
OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
- Alden JL, Kane JM . Design of industrial ventilation systems. New York,
NY: Industrial Press, Inc.
- Wadden RA, Scheff PA . Engineering design for control of workplace
hazards. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
- Plog BA . Fundamentals of industrial hygiene. Chicago, IL: National
OSHA is currently developing requirements for medical surveillance. When these
requirements are promulgated, readers should refer to them for additional
information and to determine whether employers whose employees are exposed to
ethanolamine are required to implement medical surveillance procedures.
* Medical Screening
Workers who may be exposed to chemical hazards should be monitored in a
systematic program of medical surveillance that is intended to prevent
occupational injury and disease. The program should include education of
employers and workers about work-related hazards, early detection of adverse
health effects, and referral of workers for diagnosis and treatment. The
occurrence of disease or other work-related adverse health effects should prompt
immediate evaluation of primary preventive measures (e.g., industrial hygiene
monitoring, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment). A medical
surveillance program is intended to supplement, not replace, such measures. To
detect and control work-related health effects, medical evaluations should be
performed (1) before job placement, periodically during the term of employment,
and (3) at the time of job transfer or termination.
* Pre-placement medical evaluation
Before a worker is placed in a job with a potential for exposure to
ethanolamine, a licensed health care professional should evaluate and document
the worker's baseline health status with thorough medical, environmental, and
occupational histories, a physical examination, and physiologic and laboratory
tests appropriate for the anticipated occupational risks. These should
concentrate on the function and integrity of the skin, liver, and kidneys.
A pre-placement medical evaluation is recommended to assess medical conditions
that may be aggravated or may result in increased risk when a worker is exposed
to ethanolamine at or below the prescribed exposure limit. The health care
professional should consider the probable frequency, intensity, and duration of
exposure as well as the nature and degree of any applicable medical condition.
Such conditions (which should not be regarded as absolute contraindications to
job placement) include a history and other findings consistent with diseases of
the skin, liver, and kidneys.
* Periodic medical evaluations
Occupational health interviews and physical examinations should be performed at
regular intervals during the employment period, as mandated by any applicable
Federal, State, or local standard. Where no standard exists and the hazard is
minimal, evaluations should be conducted every 3 to 5 years or as frequently as
recommended by an experienced occupational health physician. Additional
examinations may be necessary if a worker develops symptoms attributable to
ethanolamine exposure. The interviews, examinations, and medical screening tests
should focus on identifying the adverse effects of ethanolamine on the skin,
liver, or kidneys. Current health status should be compared with the baseline
health status of the individual worker or with expected values for a suitable
* Termination medical evaluations
The medical, environmental, and occupational history interviews, the physical
examination, and selected physiologic or laboratory tests that were conducted at
the time of placement should be repeated at the time of job transfer or
termination to determine the worker's medical status at the end of his or her
employment. Any changes in the worker's health status should be compared with
those expected for a suitable reference population.
* Biological monitoring
Biological monitoring involves sampling and analyzing body tissues or fluids to
provide an index of exposure to a toxic substance or metabolite. No biological
monitoring test acceptable for routine use has yet been developed for
WORKPLACE MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT
Determination of a worker's exposure to airborne ethanolamine is made using a
coated XAD-2 tube (80/40 mg sections, 20/60 mesh); coating isw/w) 1-naphthyl
isothiocyanate (NITC). Samples are collected at a maximum flow rate of 0.1
liter/minute until a maximum collection volume of 10 liters (TWA), 1.5 liters (STEL)
is reached. The sampleis then treated with dimethyl formamide. Analysis is
conducted by high performance liquid chromatography using an ultraviolet
detector (HPLC/UV). This method partially validated and is described in the OSHA
Computerized Information System [OSHA 1994]. NIOSH has a different published
method (Method No. 2007) that relies upon sample collection on a silica gel tube
and analysis by gas chromatography using a flame ionization detector (GC/FID) [NIOSH
PERSONAL HYGIENE PROCEDURES
If ethanolamine contacts the skin, workers should flush the affected areas
immediately with plenty of water, followed by washing with soap and water.
Clothing contaminated with ethanolamine should be removed immediately, and
provisions should be made for the safe removal ofthe chemical from the clothing.
Persons laundering the clothes should be informed of the hazardous properties of
A worker who handles ethanolamine should thoroughly wash hands, forearms, and
face with soap and water before eating, using tobacco products, using toilet
facilities, applying cosmetics, or taking medication.
Workers should not eat, drink, use tobacco products, apply cosmetics, or take
medication in areas where ethanolamine or a solution containing ethanolamine is
handled, processed, or stored.
Ethanolamine should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area in tightly
sealed containers that are labeled in accordance with OSHA's Hazard
Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200]. Containers of ethanolamine should be
protected from physical damage and ignition sources, and should be stored
separately from strong oxidizers, strong acids, and iron should.
SPILLS AND LEAKS
In the event of a spill or leak involving ethanolamine, persons not wearing
protective equipment and clothing should be restricted from contaminated areas
until cleanup has been completed. The following steps should be undertaken
following a spill or leak:
- Do not touch the spilled material; stop the leak if it is possible to do so
- Notify safety personnel.
- Remove all sources of heat and ignition.
- Ventilate the area of the spill or leak.
- For small liquid spills, take up with sand or other noncombustible absorbent
material and place into closed containers for later disposal.
- For large liquid spills, build dikes far ahead of the spill to contain the
ethanolamine for later reclamation or disposal.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for emergency planning,
reportable quantities of hazardous releases, community right-to-know, and
hazardous waste management may change over time. Users are therefore advised to
determine periodically whether new information is available.
* Emergency planning requirements
Ethanolamine is not subject to EPA emergency planning requirements under the
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (Title III) in 42 USC 11022.
* Reportable quantity requirements for hazardous releases
A hazardous substance release is defined by EPA as any spilling, leaking,
pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping,
leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment including the abandonment
or discarding of contaminated containers) of hazardous substances. In the event
of a release that is above the reportable quantity for that chemical, employers
are required to notify the proper Federal, State, and local authorities [40 CFR
Employers are not required by the emergency release notification provisions in
40 CFR Part 355.40 to notify the National Response Center of an accidental
release of ethanolamine; there is no reportable quantity for this substance.
* Community right-to-know requirements
Employers are not required by EPA in 40 CFR Part 372.30 to submit a Toxic
Chemical Release Inventory form (Form R) to EPA reporting the amount of
ethanolamine emitted or released from their facility annually.
* Hazardous waste management requirements
EPA considers a waste to be hazardous if it exhibits any of the following
characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity as defined
in 40 CFR 261.21-261.24. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
[40 USC 6901 et seq.], EPA has specifically listed many chemical wastes as
hazardous. Although ethanolamine is not specifically listed as a hazardous waste
under RCRA, EPA requires employers to treat waste as hazardous if it exhibits
any of the characteristics discussed above.
Providing detailed information about the removal and disposal of specific
chemicals is beyond the scope of this guideline. The U.S. Department of
Transportation, EPA, and State and local regulations should be followed to
ensure that removal, transport, and disposal of this substance are conducted in
accordance with existing regulations. To be certain that chemical waste disposal
meets EPA regulatory requirements, employers should address any questions to the
RCRA hotline at (703) 412-9810 (in the Washington, D.C. area) or toll-free at
(800) 424-9346 (outside Washington, D.C.). In addition, relevant State and local
authorities should be contacted for information on any requirements they may
have for the waste removal and disposal of this substance.
* Conditions for respirator use
Good industrial hygiene practice requires that engineering controls be used
where feasible to reduce workplace concentrations of hazardous materials to the
prescribed exposure limit. However, some situations may require the use of
respirators to control exposure. Respirators must be worn if the ambient
concentration of ethanolamine exceeds prescribed exposure limits. Respirators
may be used (1) before engineering controls have been installed, (2) during work
operations such as maintenance or repair activities that involve unknown
exposures, (3) during operations that require entry into tanks or closed
vessels, and (4) during emergencies. Workers should only use respirators that
have been approved by NIOSH and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
* Respiratory protection program
Employers should institute a complete respiratory protection program that, at a
minimum, complies with the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection
Standard [29 CFR 1910.134]. Such a program must include respirator selection, an
evaluation of the worker's ability to perform the work while wearing a
respirator, the regular training of personnel, respirator fit testing, periodic
workplace monitoring, and regular respirator maintenance, inspection, and
cleaning. The implementation of an adequate respiratory protection program
(including selection of the correct respirator) requires that a knowledgeable
person be in charge of the program and that the program be evaluated regularly.
For additional information on the selection and use of respirators and on the
medical screening of respirator users, consult the latest edition of the NIOSH
Respirator Decision Logic [NIOSH 1987b] and the NIOSH Guide to Industrial
Respiratory Protection [NIOSH 1987a].
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Workers should use appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment that
must be carefully selected, used, and maintained to be effective in preventing
skin contact with ethanolamine. The selection of the appropriate personal
protective equipment (PPE)e.g., gloves, sleeves, encapsulating suits) should be
based on the extent of the worker's potential exposure to ethanolamine.
The resistance of various materials to permeation by ethanolamine is shown below:
Material Breakthrough time (hr) Butyl Rubber Neoprene Nitrile Rubber Viton H (PE/EVAL)
Polyvinyl Chloride Natural Rubber Caution 1 to 4 Polyvinyl Alcohol Caution 1 to
To evaluate the use of these PPE materials with ethanolamine, users should
consult the best available performance data and manufacturers' recommendations.
Significant differences have been demonstrated inthe chemical resistance of
generically similar PPE materials (e.g., butyl) produced by different
manufacturers. In addition, the chemical resistance of a mixture may be
significantly different from that of any of its neat components.
Any chemical-resistant clothing that is used should be periodically evaluated to
determine its effectiveness in preventing dermal contact. Safety showers and eye
wash stations should be located close to operations that involve ethanolamine.
Splash-proof chemical safety goggles or face shields (20 to 30 cm long, minimum)
should be worn during any operation in which asolvent, caustic, or other toxic
substance may be splashed into the eyes.
In addition to the possible need for wearing protective outer apparel e.g.,
aprons, encapsulating suits), workers should wear work uniforms, coveralls, or
similar full-body coverings that are laundered each day. Employers should
provide lockers or other closed areas to store work and street clothing
separately. Employers should collect work clothing at the end of each work shift
and provide forits laundering. Laundry personnel should be informed about the
potential hazards of handling contaminated clothing and instructed about
measures to minimize their health risk.
Protective clothing should be kept free of oil and grease and should be
inspected and maintained regularly to preserve its effectiveness.
Protective clothing may interfere with the body's heat dissipation, especially
during hot weather or during work in hot or poorly ventilated work environments.
ACGIH . Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed.
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