Also referred to as 1-acetoxyethylene, ethenyl acetate, acetoxyethene, acetic acid ethenyl ester, ethenyl ethanoate, vyac, acetic acid ethylene ether, zeset T, vinyl acetate is a colorless stable liquid that has an irritating, sweet smell- the odor threshold recognition is approximately 0.5 ppm. Vinyl acetate melting point is -100°C and its boiling point is 72°C. Its vapor pressure is around 100mm Hg at 22°C, while its auto-ignition temperature is approximately 385° C. Vinyl acetate is an industrial chemical mainly used as a monomer in the production of polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH or PVA).
Vinyl acetate is quite harmful when inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the naked skin. Apart from this, it is a potential carcinogen, a mutagen and if handled wrongly could cause infertility. It causes severe irritation to the eyes when it gets into them. If it comes into contact with the naked skin, it can cause severe burns or blistering. Eye inflammation eye is characterized by watering, itching and redness. The inflammation of skin is characterized by reddening, blistering, itching and scaling. As such, when handling the chemical, you should wear safety gloves and glasses. The room you are working in should also be well ventilated.
First aid help when you accidently come into contact with vinyl acetate
- Skin contact: Wash the affected skin immediately with plenty of water after coming into contact with it. How? Gently and thoroughly, wash the affected skin with running cold water and a non-abrasive soap. Pay close attention to all skin crevices, groin, folds and creases when cleaning the skin. Cover the cleaned skin with an emollient. Do note that if irritation persists, seek some medical attention immediately. Apart from the skin, wash the contaminated clothes before reusing them.
- Eye contact: If you are wearing contact lenses, then first remove them. Immediately, flush the affected eye or eyes with cold running water for approximately fifteen minutes, keeping the eyelids open. Don’t apply any eye ointment, rather immediately seek medical attention.
- Ingestion: By all means, don’t induce vomiting. First of all, examine the lips and the mouth to ascertain whether the tissue has been damaged. If damaged, then it is an indication that vinyl acetate has been ingested. If you don’t get these signs, then it is possible that no corrosive substance has been ingested. If there are signs of tissue damage, immediately seek medical attention, as waiting could lead to serious side effects, or even death. If you are to perform first aid, then first loosen up any tight clothing, for instance; ties, waistband, collar and the belt. If the victim is not breathing, then performing mouth to mouth resuscitation is advisable. However, in the case of vinyl acetate ingestion, mouth to mouth resuscitation is discouraged; rather seeking medical attention is advisable.
- Inhalation: Remove the affected person from the room and take him or her to a well ventilated area. Loosen any tight clothing and if breathing is difficult, administer oxygen. Seek medical attention immediately.
Vinyl acetate is highly stable but extremely flammable. Additionally, it is incompatible with such chemicals as peroxides, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, ethylene imine, oleum, sulfuric acid, all oxidizing agents, chlorosulfonic acid, 2-aminoethanol and all types of bases. It is also incompatible with light and is susceptible to polymerization. However, when manufactured for commercial purposes, it is normally stabilized by adding hydroquinone into it.
Accidental Release Measure
For small spillages, dilute with plenty of water then mob it up. Absorb it with an inert dry material, and then place it in a suitable container for disposal. You should be aware that this is a highly flammable liquid, thus should be always be kept away from sources of heat. Additionally, do not touch the spilled liquid as it is corrosive. And at all cost, prevent it from entry into confined areas, basements or sewers.
Storage and Handling
Keep it locked up and away from sources of heat. Apart from this, keep it away from sources of ignition. When handling it, keep away from its fumes. In case of insufficient ventilation, wear appropriate respiratory equipment and avoid skin and the eye contact. In case of accidental ingestion, seek medical attention immediately.
All flammable materials should be kept in separate safety storage rooms or cabinets that are specifically made for that purpose. Ground all equipment that contains the material. Keep the storage containers tightly closed. In addition, vinyl acetate should be kept in cool and well ventilated places, preferably refrigerated rooms.