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CHEMINFO Record Number: 558
CCOHS Chemical Name: Linoleic acid

Leinoleic acid
9,12-Linoleic acid
Linolic acid
(Z,Z)-9,12-Octadecadienoic acid
cis,cis-9,12-Octadecadienoic acid
cis-9,cis-12-Octadecadienoic acid
Telfairic acid
Acide linoléique

Trade Name(s):
Emersol 305
Emery 315

CAS Registry Number: 60-33-3
RTECS Number(s): RF9990000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 200-470-9
Chemical Family: Unsaturated aliphatic carboxylic acid / unsaturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acid / unsaturated fatty acid / polyunsaturated fatty acid / alkenoic acid / alkadienoic acid
Molecular Formula: C18-H32-O2
Structural Formula: CH3-(CH2)3-CH2-CH=CH-CH2-CH=CH-CH2-(CH2)6-C(=O)-0H


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless to straw coloured liquid (4)

Odour Threshold:
Not available

Warning Properties:
Information not available for evaluation.

Linoleic acid usually contains some oleic acid as an impurity. Commercial products may contain antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), at levels up to 0.01%.(5)

Uses and Occurrences:
Linoleic acid is used for the manufacture of paints, coatings, emulsifiers, vitamins, soaps, special driers for protective coatings, emulsifying agents, pharmaceuticals, animal feed, dietary supplements and margarine. It is also used in biochemical research. It is a major constituent (as glycerides) of many vegetable oils and tall oils. It is therefore, normally present in the diet.(2,4,6-8)


Colourless to straw coloured liquid. Can burn if strongly heated. Essentially non-toxic following short-term exposure.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

Linoleic acid does not readily form a vapour at normal temperatures. Vapours from heated solutions or mists probably do not cause harmful effects. There is no human or animal information available for linoleic acid, but it has low toxicity in animals and humans by all tested routes of exposure.

Skin Contact:
The liquid may be slightly irritating to the skin, based on animal and human information. Slight irritation was observed following daily application on abraded skin, of 0.1 mL of a 5% solution in ethanol, for 3 days; 12.5% caused marked irritation and redness.(1) Moderate irritation was observed following intermittent application to the skin of volunteers. However, in this study, the skin was damaged and effects are more severe than would otherwise have occurred.(1)
Linoleic acid is not absorbed through the skin to a significant extent, based on limited animal information.

Eye Contact:
Mists or splashes of liquid are probably only mildly irritating to the eyes, based on animal information. There is no human information available.

Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid. It is a normal component of vegetable oils and therefore of most diets. Animal information indicates that oral toxicity is low. Ingestion is not a typical route of exposure in occupational settings.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No health effects expected, based on limited animal information.


There is no human or animal information available.

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 no listing for this chemical.

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

Teratogenicity and Embryotoxicity:
Linoleic acid did not produce teratogenic or embryotoxic effects in one animal study with an extremely high level of exposure.

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

Linoleic acid was not mutagenic in tests using bacteria and cultured mammalian cells. There is no in vivo information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
There is no information available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Linoleic acid is an essential dietary unsaturated fatty acid in mammals and is thus a normal component of the body. It is stored in fatty tissues or is converted to other acids and excreted from the body.(2)


If symptoms are experienced, remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If symptoms persist, obtain medical advice immediately.

Skin Contact:
If irritation occurs, remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Gently blot away excess chemical quickly. Wash gently and thoroughly with water and non-abrasive soap for 5 minutes or until the chemical is removed. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice. Completely decontaminate clothing before re-use or discard.

Eye Contact:
If irritation occurs, gently blot away excess chemical quickly. Immediately flush the contaminated eye(s) with lukewarm, gently flowing water for 5 minutes or until the chemical is removed, while holding the eyelid(s) open. If irritation persists, obtain medical advice immediately.

If irritation or discomfort occur, obtain medical advice immediately.

First Aid Comments:
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:
Greater than 110 deg C (230 deg F) (closed cup) (9)

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

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

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
Not available

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

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Insufficient information

Combustion and Thermal Decomposition Products:
Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.(9) Incomplete combustion may also produce irritating fumes and acrid smoke.

Fire Hazard Summary:
This material can burn if strongly heated. During a fire, irritating/toxic gases and fumes may be generated.

Extinguishing Media:
Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, alcohol foam, polymer foam, water spray or fog.(9)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Evacuate area and fight fire from a safe distance or a protected location. Approach fire from upwind to avoid toxic decomposition products.
Water or foam may cause frothing. The frothing may be violent and could endanger personnel close to the fire. However, a water spray or fog that is carefully applied to the surface of the burning material, preferably with a fine spray or fog nozzle, will cause frothing that will blanket and extinguish the fire. In addition, water spray or fog can be used to prevent dust formation, absorb heat, keep containers cool and protect exposed material. If a leak or spill has not ignited, use water spray to disperse the vapours and protect personnel attempting to stop a leak. Water spray may be used to flush spills away from ignition sources. Solid streams of water may be ineffective and spread material.
The decomposition products of linoleic acid may be hazardous to health. 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: 280.44

Conversion Factor:
Not applicable

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -5 deg C (23 deg F) (5,6,9,10)
Boiling Point: 229-230 deg C (444.2-446 deg F) at 2.13 kPa (16 mm Hg) (9,10)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.9025 at 20 deg C (water = 1) (5,10)
Solubility in Water: Insoluble (2,4)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid are soluble in all proportions in many organic solvents such as hydrocarbons, ketones, esters, alcohols and chlorinated or aromatic solvents.(5)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(n-heptane) = 5.08 (11)
pH Value: Not applicable (insoluble in water)
Vapour Density: Not applicable
Vapour Pressure: Very low at 25 deg C; 16 mm Hg (2.13 kPa) at 229 deg C (2)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: Very low at normal temperatures
Evaporation Rate: Probably practically zero at normal temperatures
Critical Temperature: Not available


Unstable in atmospheric oxygen and light. Normally contains additives to prevent oxidation.(5)

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.

STRONG OXIDIZING AGENTS (e.g. perchlorates, peroxides, chromates) - mixtures may react violently if heated. Increased risk of fire.(9)
REACTIVE METALS (e.g. aluminum) - the presence of contaminating peroxides in decomposed, aged or uninhibited linoleic acid may cause a violent or explosive reaction.
STRONG REDUCING AGENTS (e.g. phosphorus, tin (II) chloride, metal hydrides) - may react vigorously or violently.(9)
STRONG BASES (including alkalis such as sodium hydroxide) - may generate heat. Increased risk of fire.(9)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Reaction with air and light can produce peroxides, which are not likely to be hazardous. Other products of oxidation include short chain (C1-C10) aldehydes and ketones, and hydroxy compounds. Other secondary products, such as polymers, can also be found.(5)

Conditions to Avoid:
Heat, flames and depletion of anti-oxidants.

Corrosivity to Metals:
Fatty acids are corrosive at high temperatures. Not corrosive to stainless steels with various contents of molybdenum, such as 316 L, 317 L and 904 L, or aluminum.(5,7)


LD50 (oral, rat): Greater than 3200 mg/kg (2, unconfirmed)

LD50 (dermal, guinea pig): Greater than 18000 mg/kg (reported as greater than 20 mL/kg) (2, unconfirmed)

Eye Irritation:

Mild redness, completely subsiding in 72 hours, was observed in rabbits following application of linoleic acid.(3)

Skin Irritation:

Slight irritation was observed in guinea pigs in a 24-hour closed patch test (dose unspecified).(2, unconfirmed) Mild irritation (scored 1.64 out of 8) was observed in guinea pigs following application of 53% linoleic acid (23% oleic acid plus some other acids).(3)

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure:

Repeated exposure to high dietary levels are reported to cause slight damage to blood cells in dogs, rabbits and rats.(2) These high doses are not relevant to occupational situations.

Teratogenicity, Embryotoxicity and/or Fetotoxicity:
No harmful effects (weight loss, mortality or external abnormalities) were observed following oral administration of high doses of linoleic acid (13000 mg/kg/day; reported as 14 mL/kg/day) to mice for 5 days during pregnancy.(2)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Frosch, P.J., et al. The chamber-scarification test for assessing irritancy of topically applied substances. In: Cutaneous toxicity: proceedings of the 3rd conference, 1976. Edited by V.A. Drill et al. Academic Press, 1977. p. 127-154 p. 127, 136, 137
(2) Katz, G.V., et al. Aliphatic carboxylic acids. In: Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. 4th edition. Edited by G.D. Clayton et al. Volume II. Toxicology. Part E. John Wiley and Sons, 1994. p. 3597, 3599, 3620-3623, 3628, 3630, 3635
(3) Briggs, G.B., et al. Safety studies on a series of fatty acids. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 37, no. 4 (April, 1976). p. 251-253
(4) Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary. Revised by R.J. Lewis, Sr. 12th edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1993. p. 701
(5) Brockmann, R. Fatty acids. In: Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 5th completely revised edition. Volume A 10. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1987. p. 245-276
(6) Bagby, M.O. Carboxylic acids: survey. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th edition. Volume 5. John Wiley and Sons, 1993. p. 147- 168
(7) Johnson, R.W., et al. Carboxylic acids: manufacture. In: Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology. 4th edition. Volume 5. John Wiley and Sons, 1993. p. 168-178
(8) HSDB record for linoleic acid. Last revision date: 97/01/30
(9) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Volume 1. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 2128C
(10) Dean, J.A. Lange's handbook of chemistry. 14th edition. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1992. p. 1.273
(11) Leo, A., et al. Partition coefficients and their uses. Chemical Reviews. Vol. 71, no. 6 (December, 1971). p. 607

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: 1997-12-30

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