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CHEMINFO Record Number: 744
CCOHS Chemical Name: Acrylamide solutions

Acrylamide monomer
Acrylic acid amide
Acrylic amide
Propenoic acid amide
Vinyl amide
Acrylamide (non-specific name)
Acrylamide (solutions)

Chemical Name French: Acrylamide (solutions)
CAS Registry Number: 79-06-1
UN/NA Number(s): 3426
RTECS Number(s): AS3325000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 201-173-7
Chemical Family: Unsaturated aliphatic amide / unsaturated carboxamide / alkenoic acid amide
Molecular Formula: C3-H5-N-O
Structural Formula: H2C=CH-C(=O)-NH2


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless, odourless solution.

Odour Threshold:
Not applicable

Warning Properties:
Insufficient information available for evaluation.

Also available as a crystalline powder. Refer to CHEMINFO record 700 for information on the solid. Polymerization of aqueous solutions is typically inhibited using cupric salts and soluble oxygen. Other stabilizers used are antioxidants such as hydroquinone, tert-butylpyrocatechol and N-phenyl-2- naphylamine, and EDTA, ferric salts and nitrite.(1,2) Commercial acrylamide contains residue levels of acrylonitrile (1-100 mg/kg).(5)

Uses and Occurrences:
The major use of acrylamide is in the production of water soluble polyacrylamides used in water and sewage treatment, pulp and paper manufacture, enhanced oil recovery as mobility control agents in water flooding, mining and mineral processing, soil stabilization, food processing; as additives for oil well drilling fluids, flocculants, thickeners, photographic emulsion, adhesive preparations, surface coatings, dye acceptors, additives for textiles, paints and cements. Acrylamide monomer is also used as a chemical intermediate, as a component of photopolymerization systems, in adhesives and grouts, and in cross-linking agents in vinyl polymers.(1,3,4,5)


Colourless, odourless solution. Not combustible. Ignition of aqueous solutions is possible if the water has evaporated. Uninhibited solutions can polymerize. Solid material can decompose/polymerize violently at 85 deg C with the release of highly flammable hydrogen and toxic ammonia gases. Under fire conditions, toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides and ammonia are formed. VERY TOXIC. Harmful if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or swallowed. SUSPECT CANCER HAZARD - may cause cancer based on animal data. POSSIBLE REPRODUCTIVE HAZARD - may cause reduction in fertility and malformation of the male reproductive system, based on animal data. MUTAGEN - may cause inheritable genetic damage, based on animal data. NEUROTOXIC - causes harmful effects to the nervous system. Cause eye irritation.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Mists or vapours can probably cause irritation of the nose and throat.
It appears unlikely that a serious occupational poisoning could result from short-term inhalation alone. Skin absorption is the principal route of occupational exposure. However, inhalation exposure can contribute to the total exposure.

Skin Contact:
Solutions can probably cause mild skin irritation, based on animal information.
Acrylamide can be readily absorbed through skin. Skin absorption is normally the major route of occupational poisoning (acute and chronic) by acrylamide. Symptoms may be delayed for several days to several weeks depending on concentration and extent of exposure. See "Neurotoxicity" below.

Eye Contact:
Solutions can probably cause mild to moderate irritation, depending on concentration and duration of exposure. No human information is available.

Limited information on human ingestion is available. In one incident, 5 people developed adverse nervous system effects after drinking acrylamide-contaminated water. The estimated total dose ingested was 200 mg/kg.(3)
Initial symptoms, seen within days of probable exposure, included coughing, runny nose, dizziness, sleepiness, poor memory, confusion and hallucinations. Delayed symptoms, seen 2 to 3 weeks later, included numbness of hands and feet and a tingling sensation in fingers. Recovery was gradual, but nearly complete in 2 months. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

Nervous System:
Repeated exposure to low levels of mists or solutions has resulted in neurotoxicity in humans. The primary route of occupational exposure is skin absorption, but inhalation and ingestion can contribute significantly to the overall exposure.
The appearance of symptoms may be delayed up to 2 months, with low level exposures. Symptoms may include: tiredness, weakness in hands and feet, tremor, dizziness, muscular incoordination (ataxia), sleepiness, poor memory, confusion, slurred speech, abnormal behaviour, vision changes, and urinary system changes, and weight loss.
Recovery from these toxic effects is usually good, but may take months to years, depending on severity and duration of exposure.(7)

Repeated exposure to solutions can cause redness, blistering and peeling of skin, particularly on hands and feet.(3)

Skin Sensitization:
There is insufficient information available to conclude that acrylamide is an occupational skin sensitizer. Only two occupational case reports of allergic skin reactions were located. Positive results are reported for acrylamide solutions in two animals test, but a copper salt inhibitor was present in one test and the composition of the test material is not available for the other report.
A case report describes a laboratory technician who developed itchy exudative lesions on the hands and wrists while preparing substrates for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, despite wearing gloves. She had developed similar lesions 10 years earlier when working with the same material. Patch tests showed a positive reaction to 1% acrylamide. No other history of allergies was reported.(23)
A student, carrying out immunological research, also using latex gloves and working with a stock solution for polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, developed eczema four months after commencing work. Patch testing with 5% acrylamide produced positive results. There was no history of allergies in this case.(22)


Limited human population studies involving people exposed to acrylamide occupationally showed no statistically significant increases in cancer incidence. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of acrylamide in humans. However, there is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of acrylamide in experimental animals.(4)

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that this chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has designated this chemical as an animal carcinogen (A3).

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has listed this chemical as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
No human information is available. Animal information is inconclusive. Acrylamide has caused embryotoxic effects in animals at doses adversely affecting parents. Acrylamide did not cause any teratogenic effects in animal studies.

Reproductive Toxicity:
No human information is available. Acrylamide has caused adverse male reproductive effects in animals.

No human information is available. In animal studies, acrylamide caused mutations in reproductive (germ) cells and blood-forming cells (bone marrow).

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
Information not available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Acrylamide is absorbed rapidly and distributed widely in the body. It can be transferred across the placenta from the pregnant mother to the developing child, and can occur in breast milk. Most acrylamide in the body is rapidly broken down within a day. The remaining acrylamide is eliminated more slowly (half-life of 10 days). Acrylamide can accumulate temporarily in the body.(3)


Take precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue (e.g. wear appropriate protective equipment). Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. Obtain medical advice.

Skin Contact:
Avoid direct contact with this chemical. Wear chemical protective gloves, if necessary. As quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 5 minutes, or until the chemical is removed. Under running water, remove contaminated clothing, shoes, and leather goods (e.g., watchbands, belts). Obtain medical attention immediately. Completely decontaminate clothing before re-use or discard. Do not re-use contaminated shoes or leather goods.

Eye Contact:
Avoid direct contact with this chemical. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 20 minutes, or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Obtain medical advice immediately.

NEVER give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, is unconscious or is convulsing. Have victim rinse mouth thoroughly with water. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water to dilute material in stomach. If vomiting occurs naturally, rinse mouth and repeat administration of water. Obtain medical attention immediately.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest).
Neurotoxic effects may be delayed for days after exposure. Consult a doctor and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all serious exposures.
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
138 deg C (280 deg F) (acrylamide) (15)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
Not applicable

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
Not applicable

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
240 deg C (464 deg F) (acrylamide) (12)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Stable material. Probably not sensitive.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Will not accumulate static charge.

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Ignition of aqueous solutions is possible, if the water has evaporated. At temperatures above 85 deg C, solid acrylamide may decompose/polymerize violently, with the release of ammonia and hydrogen gases.(12) Under fire conditions, nitrogen oxides and ammonia are formed.(2,14)

Fire Hazard Summary:
Not combustible. However, ignition is possible if the water has evaporated. Solid acrylamide may decompose/polymerize violently above 85 deg C with the release of toxic ammonia and highly flammable hydrogen gases. Explosive decomposition may occur under fire conditions and closed containers can explode and rupture violently if heated. During a fire, irritating/toxic ammonia and nitrogen oxide gases may be generated.

Extinguishing Media:
Water spray, carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, alcohol-resistant foam, polymer foam.(12,14)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or a protected location. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours and toxic decomposition products.
If possible, isolate materials not involved in the fire, if this can be done without risk, and protect personnel. If acrylamide is not involved in the fire, move acrylamide containers from the fire area only if they have not been exposed to heat. Explosive decomposition/polymerization may occur under fire conditions with the liberation of gaseous materials that can build explosive pressures if confined. Use extreme caution since heat may rupture containers. Otherwise, apply water from as far a distance as possible, in flooding quantities as a spray or fog to keep fire-exposed containers cool and absorb heat or use unmanned monitors and hoseholders to keep cooling streams of water on fire-exposed tanks or containers until well after the fire is out.
Stay away from ends of tanks. Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety device or any discolouration of tank due to fire. In an advanced or massive fire, the area should be evacuated; use unmanned hoseholders or monitor nozzles. Water spray may also be used to reduce vapours.
Tanks or drums should not be approached directly after they have been involved in a fire or heated by exposure, until they have been completely cooled down. Clean-up or salvage operations should not be attempted until the acrylamide is cooled.
The decomposition products of acrylamide, such as ammonia and nitrogen oxides are extremely hazardous to health. Do not enter without wearing specialized protective equipment suitable for the situation. Firefighter's normal protective equipment (Bunker Gear) will not provide adequate protection. A full-body encapsulating chemical resistant suit with positive pressure self- contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) may be necessary.


NFPA - Health: 2 - Intense or continued (but not chronic) exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury.
NFPA - Flammability: 2 - Must be moderately heated or exposed to relatively high ambient temperatures before ignition can occur.
NFPA - Instability: 2 - Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, or reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water.


Molecular Weight: 71.08

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 2.9 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.345 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: Crystallization point: 8-13 deg C (46-55 deg F) (1)
Boiling Point: 99-104 deg C (210-219 deg F) at 101.3 kPa (1); also reported for acrylamide: decompositions/polymerization at 85 deg C (184 deg F) (12)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 1.041 at 25 deg C (water=1) (1)
Solubility in Water: Soluble in all proportions
Solubility in Other Liquids: Very soluble in acetone, ethanol, methanol, ethyl acetate; moderately soluble in chloroform; slightly soluble in benzene; very low solubility in n-heptane.(1)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P (oct): -0.67 (13); -0.78 (4)
pH Value: 5.0-6.5 (50% aqueous solution) (1)
Vapour Density: 2.45 (air = 1) (13)
Vapour Pressure: 2.407 kPa (18.1 mm Hg) at 23 deg C (water vapour) (1)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not applicable
Evaporation Rate: Not available
Critical Temperature: Not available

Other Physical Properties:
VISCOSITY-DYNAMIC: 2.71 mPa.s (2.71 centipoises) at 25 deg C (1)


Unstable. Concentrated aqueous acrylamide solutions must be stabilized with an inhibitor.

Hazardous Polymerization:
Inhibited solutions will not polymerize. Above 50 deg C, the rate of polymer build-up becomes significant.(1)

Incompatibility - Materials to Avoid:

NOTE: Chemical reactions that could result in a hazardous situation (e.g. generation of flammable or toxic chemicals, fire or detonation) are listed here. Many of these reactions can be done safely if specific control measures (e.g. cooling of the reaction) are in place. Although not intended to be complete, an overview of important reactions involving common chemicals is provided to assist in the development of safe work practices.

STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. peroxides) - may react/polymerize violently.(2,12,14)
ACIDS or BASES - may decompose vigorously producing ammonia salts and acrylic acid.(2,14)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:

Conditions to Avoid:
Heat, sunlight, depletion of inhibitor, evaporation of water from solution

Corrosivity to Metals:
Non-corrosive, but avoid contact with iron, steel, copper, aluminum, brass and bronze.(1,2)

Stability and Reactivity Comments:
Acrylamide exhibits both weak acidic and basic properties.(1)


LD50 (oral, rat): 124 mg/kg (in polyethylene glycol) (18)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 107 mg/kg (8, unconfirmed)

LD50 (dermal, rat): 400 mg/kg (8, unconfirmed)

Eye Irritation:

Acrylamide is a moderate eye irritant.

Application of an unspecified volume of a 10% water solution of acrylamide (99%+ pure) caused slight pain and irritation in rabbits, but no corneal injury and the eyes were normal in 24 hours. A 40% solution, which was allowed to remain in contact with they eye for only 30 seconds, caused moderate pain, but no greater injury. When a 40% solution was applied and not rinsed off, moderate pain, slight irritation and significant corneal injury resulted, with healing within 24 hours.(9) Application of 0.1 mL of a 50% water solution of acrylamide caused signs of eye irritation, which reversed by day 7.(20 citing an unpublished report) Irritation was observed in rabbits following the application of 0.1 mL of a 50.7% water solution of acrylamide. After 30 seconds, one eye as washed for 2 minutes. The other eye was treated in the same way, but not washed. One rabbit showed moderate conjunctival irritation with slight iritis and corneal injury 24 hours after exposure, which subsided and essentially disappeared by day 8. The other 2 rabbits showed only slight effects, which disappeared by the 48-hour reading in 1 rabbit and by the 24-hour reading in the other rabbit.(19)

Skin Irritation:

Acrylamide is not irritating to the skin.

A 10% solution (50 mg) produced no irritation in rabbits upon application to intact skin and very mild irritation on abraded skin.(9) 500 mg produced mild irritation in rabbits in a standard Draize test.(8)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Skin Contact:
25% of an applied dose was absorbed through the skin of rats in 24 hours, and an additional 35% was present in the skin.(10)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Long-term acrylamide exposure caused reduced visual sharpness but no visible damage to optic nerves of monkeys. Only partial recovery occurred after exposure stopped.(6)

Rats fed 300-400 ppm in the diet for up to 90 days showed toxic effects in the nervous system and increased deaths. Animals recovered completely when exposure stopped.(11) In another 90-day study, rats given 1, 5 and 20 mg/kg/day in drinking water showed neurotoxic effects, with severe nerve damage at the highest dose. Recovery of this high dose group was only partial.(11) Other studies using dogs, rats, mice and monkeys are reviewed in reference 7.

Skin Sensitization:
There is insufficient information available to conclude that acrylamide is a skin sensitizer.
In a Magnusson and Kligman test, with an adjuvant, a 50% solution of acrylamide produced a positive response in 85% (17/20) of the guinea pigs tested. The acrylamide was inhibited with a copper salt (25-30%).(21) The presence of the copper salt may have influenced the results and it is, therefore, not possible to conclude that acrylamide is a skin sensitizer based on the results of this test. Groups of 20 test and 10 control animals were dermally exposed to up to 25% aqueous acrylamide following induction of test animals with up to 50% topically and up to 3.5% intradermally. Skin reactions were observed in most control animals, but these reactions were less severe than in test animals. A positive skin response in excess of that seen in controls was recorded in 40% of the test group.(20 citing an unpublished report) There are insufficient details available on the purity of the acrylamide to evaluate this report.

IARC evaluation of the carcinogenicity of acrylamide to experimental animals: sufficient evidence.(4)
In 1-year studies (feeding and injection) acrylamide caused lung tumours in two different types of mice.(10,11) In a detailed 2-year study, acrylamide in drinking water of rats caused significant increases in tumours at several sites, including thyroid, mammary, adrenal glands, oral cavity and scrotum.(4,10,11) Acrylamide also increased the number of tumours when administered to mice (skin application, injection or ingestion), followed by treatment with a known tumour promoter (TPA).(4)

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
Embryotoxic effects, such as decreased number of pups per litter, have occurred in rats and mice at doses causing severe weight loss or neurotoxicity in parents. Other studies have reported no embryotoxic effects at doses toxic to parents. Teratogenic effects were not reported in any of the available studies (studies reviewed in references 3,4,10,11).

Reproductive Toxicity:
Repeated oral administration of acrylamide has produced a reduction in fertility and malformation of the male reproductive system in rats and mice. In some cases, these effects were accompanied by other toxic effects.(3,4,10,11)

Acrylamide produced mutations in reproductive (germ) cells in mice and rats (dominant lethal test and heritable translocation test). It also caused significant increases in abnormal sperm head shape; chromosome aberrations and abnormal division (aneuploidy and polyploidy) in sperm and bone marrow cells of mice.(4,10,11)
Acrylamide was mutagenic in one in-vitro mammalian cell test. It was not mutagenic in another in-vitro cell mammalian test, or in bacterial tests (Ames assay).(4,10,11)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Habermann, C.E. Acrylamide. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th ed. Vo. 1. John Wiley & Sons, 1991. p. 251-266
(2) Emergency action guide for acrylamide. Association of American Railroads, July 1994
(3) Acrylamide. Environmental Health Criteria 49. World Health Organization, 1985
(4) IARC Monographs on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans: some industrial chemicals. Vol. 60. International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1994. p. 389-433
(5) Report on Carcinogens. 11th ed. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program
(6) Grant, W.M., et al. Toxicology of the eye. 4th ed. Charles C. Thomas, 1993. p. 66-67
(7) Neurotoxicity of industrial and commercial chemicals. Vol. II. CRC Press, 1985. p. 169-177
(8) RTECS record for acrylamide. Date of last update: 9510
(9) McCollister, D.D., et al. Toxicology of acrylamide. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 6 (1964). p. 172-181
(10) Dearfield, K.L., et al. Acrylamide: its metabolism, developmental and reproductive effects, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity. Mutation Research. Vol. 195 (1988). p. 45-77
(11) Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1991. p. 23-25
(12) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 49
(13) HSDB record for acrylamide. Date of last update: 9502
(14) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Ed II. Vol. 1. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 58C
(15) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, June 1994. p. 6-7
(16) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(17) European Communities (EC). Commission Directive 2001/59/EC. Aug. 6, 2001
(18) Paulet, G. et al. De la toxicite de quelques esters acryliques et methyacryliques de l'acrylamide et des polyacrylamides. Archives des Maladies Professionnelles de Medecine du Travail et de Securite Sociale. Vol. 35 (1975). p. 58-60
(19) Keeler, P.A., et al. Acute toxicological properties and industrial handling hazards of a 50.7% aqueous solution of acrylamide. Dow Chemical Co. Date produced: June 1975. EPA/OTS 878214838. NTIS/OTS0206684.
(20) Acrylamide. Priority existing chemical assessment report No. 23. Australia National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), May 2002. Available online
(21) Stockhausen Laboratory. Initial submission: sensibilisierung der haut (in German) - study in guinea pigs with acrylamide, 50% with cover letter dated 04/18/95. Study completion date: June 1995. Cytec Industries Inc. EPA/OTS 88-950000210. NTIS/OTS0557853.
(22) Dooms-Goossens, A., et al. Contact allergy to acrylamide. Contact Dermatitis. Vol. 24 (1991). p. 71-72
(23) Lambert, J., et al. Contact dermatitis from acrylamide. Contact Dermatitis. Vol. 19, no. 1 (1988). p. 65
(24) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Acrylamide. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>

Information on chemicals reviewed in the CHEMINFO database is drawn from a number of publicly available sources. A list of general references used to compile CHEMINFO records is available in the database Help.

Review/Preparation Date: 1996-03-19

Revision Indicators:
EU number 1996-06-01
EU safety 1996-06-01
EU comments 1996-06-01
Sampling 1996-06-01
Respiratory guidelines 1996-06-01
TLV-TWA 1996-09-01
WHMIS (proposed class) 1997-07-01
US transport 1998-03-01
TLV comments 1998-08-01
EU classification 2002-02-21
EU risks 2002-02-21
Short-term eye contact 2003-09-19
Toxicological info 2004-01-06
Long-term exposure 2004-01-06
WHMIS detailed classification 2004-01-06
PEL-TWA transitional 2004-02-02
PEL-TWA final 2004-02-02
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-04-03
TLV proposed changes 2004-07-04
Bibliography 2005-02-02
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-03-02
Bibliography 2005-03-02
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-03-02
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-02
Bibliography 2005-03-03
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-03
TLV-TWA 2005-03-24
TLV basis 2005-03-25
UN/NA No 2007-01-10
US transport 2007-01-10

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