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CHEMINFO Record Number: 116
CCOHS Chemical Name: n-Octane


Chemical Name French: Octane normal
Chemical Name Spanish: n-Octano
CAS Registry Number: 111-65-9
UN/NA Number(s): 1262
RTECS Number(s): RG8400000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 203-892-1
Chemical Family: Saturated aliphatic hydrocarbon / alkane / n-alkane / octane isomer
Molecular Formula: C8-H18
Structural Formula: CH3-(CH2)6-CH3


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid; gasoline-like odour.

Odour Threshold:
200 ppm (100% recognition)

Warning Properties:
NOT RELIABLE - odour threshold about same magnitude as TLV

Uses and Occurrences:
Solvent; component of high-octane motor and aviation fuel; an ingredient of VM&P naphtha and other petroleum solvents; manufacture of benzene; toluene and xylene aromatics; azeotropic distillations.


Colourless liquid. Gasoline-like odour. FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. Liquid can accumulate static charge. Vapour is heavier than air and may spread long distances. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. Vapour can accumulate in confined space. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations or spread fire. Mild central nervous system depressant. High vapour concentrations may cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. SKIN IRRITANT. Causes severe eye irritation. May also be irritating to the eyes. Aspiration hazard. Swallowing or vomiting of the liquid may result in aspiration into the lungs.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

n-Octane very readily forms high vapour concentrations. High vapour concentrations can irritate the nose and throat, and may cause headache, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and confusion, based on animal information. Historical human information estimates that approximately 10000 ppm would cause unconsciousness and that 13500 ppm (almost the saturated vapour concentration) may be fatal.(1, unconfirmed)

Skin Contact:
n-Octane is a moderate to severe skin irritant, based on animal and human information. In one study, using human volunteers, application of 1.5 mL (under cover) for 1 hour on the forearm and on the thigh for 5 hours resulted in redness and inflammation. The 5-hour exposure also caused blisters.(5)

Eye Contact:
Contact of liquid with eyes may cause redness and pain. No human or animal information was located.
Very high vapour concentrations may be irritating to the eyes.

Ingestion of n-octane may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and depression of the central nervous system (CNS). However, oral toxicity is relatively low unless liquid n-octane is aspirated into the lungs. Aspiration is the "breathing" of a material into the lungs when it is swallowed or vomited. Severe lung irritation (chemical pneumonitis) or lung tissue damage (pulmonary edema) or death can result.(3) Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

No chronic effects in humans have been reported. n-Octane has not been shown to cause the type of peripheral neuropathy associated with n-hexane.(4)

Irritation and dermatitis (dry cracked skin, inflammation, reddening and swelling) can result from prolonged or repeated contact.(4)


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 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 human or animal information available.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
Information not available

Potential for Accumulation:
Unlikely to accumulate; readily metabolized and excreted material.


This product is flammable. Take proper precautions (e.g. remove any sources of ignition). Remove source of contamination or move victim to fresh air. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration or, if the heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Skin Contact:
As quickly as possible, remove contaminated clothing, shoes and leather goods (e.g. watchbands, belts). Quickly and gently blot or brush away excess chemical. Wash gently and thoroughly with water and non-abrasive soap for 20 minutes or until chemical is removed. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Eye Contact:
Quickly and gently blot or brush away excess chemical. 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. Obtain medical attention immediately.

Never give anything by mouth if victim is rapidly losing consciousness, is unconscious or convulsing. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Have victim drink 240 to 300 mL (8 to 10 oz.) of water. If vomiting occurs naturally, have victim lean forward to reduce risk of aspiration. Repeat administration of water. Obtain medical attention immediately.

First Aid Comments:
Provide general supportive measures (comfort, warmth, rest).
Consult a doctor 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 doctor familiar with the material and its conditions of use in the workplace.


Flash Point:
13 deg C (56 deg F) (closed cup) (7)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
1.0% (7)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
6.5% (7)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
206 deg C (403 deg F) (7)

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

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Liquid can accumulate static charge by flow or agitation. Vapours can be ignited by static discharge.

Fire Hazard Summary:
Flammable liquid. Can release vapours that form explosive mixtures with air at or above 13 deg C. Vapour is heavier than air, and can travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flashback. Liquid can float on water and may travel to distant locations or spread fire. Vapour can accumulate in confined spaces posing a toxicity and flammability hazard.

Extinguishing Media:
Foam, dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray. Water may be ineffective. (7)

Fire Fighting Instructions:
Water is not generally suitable for fighting fires involving this material. Water spray can be used to absorb heat, keep containers cool, protect personnel and exposed material. Firefighters may enter the area if positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (MSHA/NIOSH approved or equivalent) and full Bunker Gear is worn.


NFPA - Health: 1 - Exposure would cause significant irritation, but only minor residual injury.
NFPA - Flammability: 3 - Liquids and solids that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions.
NFPA - Instability: 0 - Normally stable, even under fire conditions, and not reactive with water.


Molecular Weight: 114.22

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 4.67 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.214 ppm @ 25 deg C

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: FREEZING POINT: -56.7 deg C (-70 deg F)
Boiling Point: 126 deg C (258 deg F)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.70 @ 20 deg C (water=1)
Solubility in Water: Insoluble
Solubility in Other Liquids: Completely miscible with most organic solvents
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = 5.18 (4)
pH Value: Not applicable
Vapour Density: 3.94 (air=1) (4)
Vapour Pressure: 10.45 mm Hg @ 20 deg C
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 1.44% (14,400 ppm) at 25 deg C
Evaporation Rate: Not available
Critical Temperature: Not available


Normally stable

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. peroxides, nitrates and perchlorates) - can increase risk of fire and explosion

Hazardous Decomposition Products:

Conditions to Avoid:
Static discharge, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources

Corrosivity to Metals:
Not corrosive


LC50 (rat): 25250 ppm (4-hour exposure); cited as 118 g/m3) (4-hour exposure) (10, unconfirmed)

Skin Irritation:

0.5 mL of 5, 10, 25 or 50% n-octane was applied to rabbits for 4 hours in a series of tests. Irritation was scored according to the Draize scale (individual scores were not reported). It was determined that 50% n-octane is irritating according to the EEC criteria.(12)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

The ability of n-octane to disrupt normal behavioral functioning was examined in mice. At concentrations greater than 1000 ppm, behavior was impaired in a dose-related manner. Performance decreased to about 50% of normal functioning at 3000 ppm. Performance was almost completely impaired at 5600 ppm.(11) Mice exposed to 6600-13700 ppm showed signs of narcosis within 30 to 90 minutes.(1,4-unconfirmed) Anesthesia was caused in mice exposed to 7500 ppm for 2 hours. Central nervous system (CNS) depression occurs at 7000-10000 ppm.(4, unconfirmed) The RD50, the concentration that produced a 50% reduction in the respiratory rate of male mice, is estimated to be 18150 ppm for a 30-minute exposure.(13) Exposure to this concentration is expected to produce intolerable eye, nose and throat (sensory irritation) in humans. This concentration is extremely high (saturation vapour concentration: 14400 ppm), thus n-octane is not a significant sensory irritant.

Oral toxicity is relatively low unless n-octane is aspirated into the lungs. Aspiration of 0.2 mL/n-octane caused convulsions and death in rats within seconds. The rapid deaths appeared to be cardiac arrest, respiratory paralysis and asphyxia rather than pulmonary edema or hemorrhaging.(6)

n-Octane was shown to have significant promoting activity when tested as a 75% solution in cyclohexane.(3, unconfirmed)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) Octane, all isomers. In: Documentation of threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 7th ed. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 2001
(2) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. NIOSH, June 1994. p. 236-237
(3) Carreon, T. Aliphatic hydrocarbons. In: Patty's toxicology. 5th ed. Edited by E. Bingham, et al. Vol.4. John Wiley and Sons, 2001. p. 48-52
(4) Ethel Browning's toxicity and metabolism of industrial solvents. 2nd ed. Vol. 1 : hydrocarbons. Elsevier, 1987
(5) Oettel, H. Effect of organic liquids on the skin. Archiv. fuer Experimentelle Pathologie. Vol. 83 (1936). p. 641-696
(6) Gerarde, H.W. Toxicological studies on hydrocarbons. IX The aspiration hazard and toxicity of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon mixtures. Archives of Environmental Health. Vol. 6 (Mar. 1963). p. 329-330
(7) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 325
(8) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(9) European Communities. Commission Directive 98/98/EC. Dec. 15, 1998
(10) RTECS record for n-octane. Last revision date 1996-01
(11) Glowa, J.R. Behavioral toxicology of volatile organic solvents V. Comparisons of the behavioral and neuroendocrine effects among n-Alkanes. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. Vol. 10, no. 6 (1991). p. 639-646
(12) Jacobs, G., et al. Proposal of limit concentrations for skin irritation within the context of a new EEC directive on the classification and labeling of preparations. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Vol. 7, no. 4 (Dec. 1987). p. 370-378
(13) Schaper, M. Development of a database for sensory irritants and its use in establishing occupational exposure limits. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 54 (Sept. 1993). p. 488-544
(14) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Organic Vapors. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>
(15) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). n-Octane. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>
(16) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Hydrocarbons, BP 36-216 deg C. 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: <>
(17) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Volatile Organic Compounds (Screening). 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: 1997-02-06

Revision Indicators:
US transport 1998-03-01
Resistance to materials 1998-05-01
TLV-TWA 1999-03-01
TLV-STEL 1999-03-01
TLV comments 1999-03-01
EU Class 2000-04-01
EU Risk 2000-04-01
EU Safety 2000-04-01
EU Comments 2000-04-01
NFPA (health) 2003-04-11
Extinguishing media 2003-04-11
Bibliography 2003-05-15
Toxicological info 2003-05-15
Short-term inhalation 2003-05-15
Short-term skin contact 2003-05-15
Short-term eye contact 2003-05-15
Carcinogenicity 2003-05-15
WHMIS detailed classification 2003-05-15
WHMIS proposed classification 2003-05-15
WHMIS health effects 2003-05-15
Emergency overview 2003-05-15
First aid skin 2003-05-15
First aid eye 2003-05-15
Handling 2003-05-26
PEL-TWA final 2003-10-30
PEL-STEL final 2003-10-30
PEL transitional comments 2003-10-30
TLV basis 2004-01-01
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-03-28
Bibliography 2005-04-11
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-04-11
Sampling/analysis 2005-04-11

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