Vapor/air mixtures of acetic acid may be explosive at temperatures above 39°C.
Acetic acid is listed by the FDA as a direct food substance affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) (21 CFR 184.1005).
Five cases of occupational asthma with chronic rhinitis and sinusitis were reported among employees in a vegetable pickling plant where the mean acetic acid concentration in 10 workroom air samples was 12.2 ppm. Non-smokers (n=74) also had significantly increased incidences of dyspnea, hoarseness, and headache than did smokers (n=29) at this plant.
Acetic acid is one of the VOCs found in both liquid and paste forms of butter flavoring used in microwave popcorn production plants. In one of these plants where severe lung disease was found in 9 former employees, NIOSH found a mean acetic acid concentration of 5.5 ppm (n=8), with a top measurement of 12.4 ppm, in the mixing area and a mean of 2.7 ppm (n=24) in the microwave packaging area.
Protracted airway hyperresponsiveness and symptoms of chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath were described in several hospital employees after acute exposure to vapors from a gallon of glacial acetic acid that was spilled on a floor.
The release of acetic acid during the curing of some silicone sealers is thought to be related to the severity of dental erosion in those who work with silicone.
International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO). Acetic Acid.
Boylstein, R., Piacitelli, C., Grote, A., Kanwal, R., Kullman, G. and Kreiss, K. Diacetyl emissions and airborne dust from butter flavorings used in microwave popcorn production. J. Occup. Environ. Hyg.3(10): 530-535, 2006.
Johansson, A.K., Johansson, A., Stan, V. and Ohlson, C.G. Silicone sealers, acetic acid vapours and dental erosion: a work-related risk? Swed. Dent. J.29(2): 61-69, 2005.
Kern, D.G.: Outbreak of the reactive airways dysfunction syndrome after a spill of glacial acetic acid. Am. Rev. Respir. Dis.144(5): 1058-1064, 1991.
Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Acetic Acid . In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 30-32.
Zuskin, E., Mustajbegovic, J., Schachter, E.N., Pavicic, D. and Budak, A.: A follow-up study of respiratory function in workers exposed to acid aerosols in a food-processing industry. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health70(6): 413-418, 1997.
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