LABORATORY CHEMICAL SAFETY SUMMARY: ACRYLAMIDE

Substance

Acrylamide

(2-Propeneamide, vinyl amide)

CAS 79-06-1

 

Formula

H2C = CH-CONH2

 

Physical Properties

Colorless crystals

bp 125 °C (25 mmHg), mp 85 °C

Soluble in water (216 g/100 mL)

 

Odor

Odorless solid

 

Toxicity Data

LD50 oral (rat)

124 mg/kg

 

LD50 skin (rat)

400 mg/kg

 

PEL (OSHA)

0.3 mg/m3—skin

 

TLV-TWA (ACGIH)

0.03 mg/m3—skin

Major Hazards

Suspected human carcinogen (OSHA "select carcinogen") and neurotoxin.

Toxicity

The acute toxicity of acrylamide is moderate by ingestion or skin contact. Skin exposure leads to redness and peeling of the skin of the palms. Aqueous acrylamide solutions cause eye irritation; exposure to a 50% solution of acrylamide caused slight corneal injury and slight conjunctival irritation, which healed in 8 days.

The chronic toxicity of acrylamide is high. Repeated exposure to ~2 mg/kg per day may result in neurotoxic effects, including unsteadiness, muscle weakness, and numbness in the feet (leading to paralysis of the legs), numbness in the hands, slurred speech, vertigo, and fatigue. Exposure to slightly higher repeated doses in animal studies has induced multisite cancers and reproductive effects, including abortion, reduced fertility, and mutagenicity. Acrylamide is listed in IARC Group 2B ("possible human carcinogen") and is classified as a "select carcinogen" under the criteria of the OSHA Laboratory Standard.

Flammability and Explosibility

The volatility of acrylamide is low (0.03 mmHg at 40 °C), and it does not pose a significant flammability hazard.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

May polymerize violently on strong heating or exposure to strong base. Acrylamide may react violently with strong oxidizers.

Storage and Handling

Because of its carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity, acrylamide should be handled using the "basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C, supplemented by the additional precautions for work with compounds of high chronic toxicity (Chapter 5.D). In particular, this substance should be handled only when wearing appropriate impermeable gloves to prevent skin contact, and all operations that have the potential of producing acrylamide dusts or aerosols of solutions should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation.



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