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CHEMINFO Record Number: 517
CCOHS Chemical Name: tert-Butyl acetate

Acetic acid, 1,1-dimethyl ethyl ester
Acetic acid, tert-butyl ester
t-Butyl acetate
Butyl acetate (non-specific name)
Acetate de butyle tertiare

Chemical Name French: Acétate de butyle tertiaire
Chemical Name Spanish: Acetato de ter-butilo
CAS Registry Number: 540-88-5
UN/NA Number(s): 1123
RTECS Number(s): AF7400000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 208-760-7
Chemical Family: Aliphatic carboxylic acid ester / saturated aliphatic carboxylic acid ester / saturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acid ester / alkyl alkanoate / acetic acid ester / acetate / tert-butyl ester
Molecular Formula: C6-H12-O2
Structural Formula: (CH3)3-C-O-C(=O)-CH3


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid with a characteristic acetate ester fruity odour.(6)

Odour Threshold:
Not available

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Uses and Occurrences:
Solvent and gasoline additive to improve the antiknock properties of motor fuels.(3,4)


Colourless liquid with a characteristic fruity odour. FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. Vapour is heavier than air and may spread long distances. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations and/or spread fire. May be irritating to respiratory tract. May be a mild central nervous system depressant. High vapour concentrations may cause headache, nausea, dizziness, incoordination, confusion and unconsciousness. May be irritating to the skin and eyes.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

The vapour is probably irritating to the nose and throat. Exposures to high concentrations can probably cause signs of central nervous system (CNS) depression including headache, dizziness, nausea and unconsciousness. There is no specific information available for tert-butyl acetate, but effects would probably be like those observed in animals and humans following exposure to other butyl acetates.
The potential health hazard of inhaling tert-butyl acetate may exceed that of n-butyl acetate, based on an animal study that found that tert-butyl acetate accumulates in blood to a greater extent than n-butyl acetate.(1)

Skin Contact:
The liquid may be a mild to moderate skin irritant, based on comparison to related butyl acetates. There is no human or animal information available for tert-butyl acetate.

Eye Contact:
The liquid can probably cause moderate to severe eye irritation, based on comparison to related acetates. The vapour can probably cause mild to severe eye irritation, depending on the concentration. There is no specific information available for tert-butyl acetate.

Related butyl acetates are not very toxic by ingestion. Like other butyl acetates, tert-butyl acetate may be irritating to the mouth and throat. Ingestion of large amounts may produce signs of CNS depression, like those described for "Inhalation" above. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

SKIN: Repeated or prolonged contact may cause irritation and drying.

No effects from long-term exposure have been reported.


There is no human or animal information available. Probably not carcinogenic.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has not evaluated the carcinogenicity of this chemical.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has not assigned a carcinogenicity designation to this chemical.

The US National Toxicology Program (NTP) has not listed this chemical in its report on carcinogens.

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
There is no human or animal information available.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no human or animal information available.

There is no information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Probably does not accumulate. Studies suggest that tert-butyl acetate is rapidly broken down in the body to acetic acid and tert-butanol and eliminated in the urine.(2) Another study shows that tert-butyl acetate is more slowly eliminated from blood than n-butyl acetate.(1)


This chemical is flammable. Take proper precautions (e.g. remove any sources of ignition). Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Skin Contact:
Quickly and gently blot or brush away excess chemical. Wash gently and thoroughly with water and non-abrasive soap for 20 minutes or until the chemical is removed. Under running water, remove contaminated clothing, shoes, and leather goods (e.g., watchbands, belts). If irritation persists, obtain medical attention immediately. Completely decontaminate clothing, shoes and leather goods before re-use or discard.

Eye Contact:
Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 20 minutes, or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. Take care not to rinse contaminated water into the non- affected eye. If irritation persists, repeat flushing. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Never give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, or is unconscious or 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. 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). Consult a physician and/or the nearest Poison Control Centre for all exposures except minor instances of inhalation or skin contact.
All first aid procedures should be periodically reviewed by a physician familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
15.5 deg C (60 deg F) deg C (closed cup) (5); 16.6-22 deg C (62-72 deg F) (closed cup) (3,6)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
1.3% (7); 1.5% (3,8)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
7.3% (7)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
Not available

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Not sensitive. Stable material.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Probably will not accumulate static charge, since acetates have high electrical conductivities. Vapours in the flammable range may be ignited by a static discharge of sufficient energy.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Flammable liquid. Can form vapours that form explosive mixtures with air at, or above 16.6 deg C. Vapour is heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back to a leak or open container. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations and/or spread fire. Can accumulate in confined spaces, resulting in a toxicity and flammability hazard. Closed containers may rupture violently when heated.

Extinguishing Media:
Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, "alcohol" foam or polymer foam. Water may be ineffective because it will not cool tert-butyl acetate below its flash point. Fire fighting foams are the extinguishing agent of choice for most flammable liquid fires.(3,5)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or protected location. Approach fire from upwind to avoid hazardous vapours and toxic decomposition products.
Stop leak before attempting to stop the fire. If the leak cannot be stopped, and if there is no risk to the surrounding area, let the fire burn itself out. If the flames are extinguished without stopping the leak, vapours could form explosive mixtures with air and reignite.
Water can extinguish the fire if used under favourable conditions and when hose streams are applied by experienced firefighters trained in fighting all types of flammable liquid fires. Isolate materials not yet involved in the fire and protect personnel. Move containers from fire area if this can be done without risk. Otherwise, fire-exposed containers or tanks should be cooled by application of hose streams and this should begin as soon as possible (within the first several minutes) and should concentrate on any unwetted portions of the container. If this is not possible, use unmanned monitor nozzles and immediately evacuate the area.
If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray in large quantities to disperse the vapours, to protect personnel attempting to stop a leak and to flush spills away from ignition sources. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material. For a massive fire in a large area, use unmanned hose holder or monitor nozzles; if this is not possible withdraw from fire area and allow fire to burn. 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.
Firefighters may enter the area if positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full Bunker Gear is worn.


NFPA - Comments:
NFPA has no listing for this chemical in Codes 49 or 325.


Molecular Weight: 116.16

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 4.74 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.211 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: Not available
Boiling Point: 97-98 deg C (206.6-208.4 deg F) (3,5,7)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.867 at 20 deg C (water = 1) (4,7)
Solubility in Water: Practically insoluble.(6)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether, acetic acid.(3,4)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = 1.38 (4)
pH Value: Not applicable
Vapour Density: 4.0 (air = 1) (3,6)
Vapour Pressure: Not available
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Not available
Evaporation Rate: Not available


Normally stable. Heat can cause instability.(4)

Hazardous Polymerization:
Does not occur

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.

OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. nitrates, perchlorates, peroxides) - reaction can be violent. Increased risk of fire and explosion.(3,5,6)
STRONG ACIDS (e.g. sulfuric acid, oleum, and chlorosulfonic acid), or STRONG BASES (e.g. potassium hydroxide) - decomposition (hydrolysis) can occur, releasing heat. The reaction may be vigorous and there is a risk of fire and explosion.(3,6,8)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Acetic acid, tert-butanol

Conditions to Avoid:
Open flames, sparks, electrostatic discharge, heat and other ignition sources.

Corrosivity to Metals:
No information available. Related acetates, n-butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate, are not corrosive to iron, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper and nickel and their alloys.(9)

Stability and Reactivity Comments:
tert-Butyl acetate may soften or dissolve plastics.(3,7)


No relevant animal toxicity information was located.


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Groth, G., et al. Inhaled tert-butyl acetate and its metabolite tert-butyl alcohol accumulate in the blood during exposure. Human and Experimental Toxicology. Vol. 13, 1994. p. 478-480
(2) Dahl, A.R., et al. Hydrolytic enzymes in the respiratory tract. In: Annual report of the Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute operated for the United States Department of Energy by the Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute, October 1, 1984, through September 30, 1985. Edited by M.A. Medinsky, et al. Contract number DE-ACO4-76EV01013. Health and Environmental Research, United States Department of Energy, December 1985. p. 152-155
(3) Occupational safety and health guideline for sec-butyl acetate. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, 1992
(4) HSDB record for tert-butyl acetate. Last revision date: 95/01/18
(5) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Volume 1. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 612C
(6) tert-Butyl acetate. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th edition. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1991. p. 167
(7) Tau, K.D., et al. Esters, organic. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th Edition. Vol. 9. John Wiley and Sons, 1994. p. 781-812
(8) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, June 1994. p. 38-39
(9) Corrosion data survey: metals section. 6th edition. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 24-25, 72-73
(10) European Communities. Commission Directive 98/98/EC. December 15, 1998
(11) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(12) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Organic Vapors. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>
(13) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Esters I. In: NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM(R)). 4th ed. Edited by M.E. Cassinelli, et al. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 94-113. Aug. 1994. 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: 1996-07-24

Revision Indicators:
Resistance of materials 1998-04-01
US transport 1998-04-01
Bibliography 2000-04-01
EU Class 2000-04-01
EU Risk 2000-04-01
EU Safety 2000-04-01
TDG 2002-05-29
US transport 2002-12-10
PEL transitional comments 2003-12-04
PEL-TWA final 2003-12-04
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-04-04
Bibliography 2004-04-04
Bibliography 2005-03-07
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-03-07
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-07

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