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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: 1,3-Pentanediol 2,2-bis[(nitrooxy)methyl]-, dinitrate ester; PETN; Penthrit; Nitropentaerythritol

OSHA IMIS Code Number: P147

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 78-11-5

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: RZ2620000

Chemical Description and Physical Properties:

white, crystalline, damp solid; slight odor; soluble in ketones, slightly soluble in alcohol and ether
molecular weight: 316.17
molecular formula: C5H8N4O12
melting point: 138-140°C
autoignition temperature: 160°C

Incompatibilities: Avoid all contact with other chemicals. Avoid contact with other explosives, pyrotechnics, solvents, adhesives, paints, cleaners and unauthorized metals, plastics, packing equipment and materials. Avoid contamination with acids, alkalis, amines, phosphorus, and reducing agents.

WARNING: SEVERE EXPLOSION HAZARD. Detonation may occur from heavy impact, static or excessive heating - particularly under confinement.

Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory system; postural hypotension, dizziness, headache; facial flushing

Health Effects: Explosive (HE18); Exacerbation of rosacea (dermatitis) (HE3)

Affected Organs: Cardiovascular system, eyes, respiratory system

Notes:

  1. OSHA does not have a PEL for pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), which is used both as a drug for preventing angina pectoris and as an explosive.
  2. PETN is sequentially metabolized to trinitrate, dinitrate and mononitrate derivatives of pentaerythritol.
  3. Bioactivation of the tetranitrate and trinitrate via production of the nitrite anion is catalyzed by the esterase activity of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH-2).
  4. The elimination half-life in plasma from male volunteers given an oral 100-mg dose of the tetranitrate was reported to be 4-5 hours for the dinitrate and 10-11 hours for the mononitrate of pentaerythritol.
  5. PETN is a component of the plastic explosive (Semtex-H) used to destroy a commercial jet (Pan Am Flight 103) near Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Literature Basis:

  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Pentaerythritol tetranitrate.
  • Daiber, A., et al.: Oxidative stress and mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase activity: a comparison of pentaerythritol tetranitrate with other organic nitrates. Mol. Pharmacol. 66(6): 1372-1382, 2004.
  • Weber, W., Michaelis, K., Luckow, V., Kuntze, U. and Stalleicken, D.: Pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of pentaerythrityl tetranitrate and two of its metabolites. Arzneimittelforschung 45(7): 781-784, 1995.
  • Wilkin, J.K.: Vasodilator rosacea. Arch. Dermatol. 116(5): 598, 1980.

Date Last Revised: 01/23/2006

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