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CHEMINFO Record Number: 578
CCOHS Chemical Name: n-Propyl acetate

Acetic acid, n-propyl ester
Acetic acid, propyl ester
1-Propyl acetate
Propyl acetate (non-specific name)
n-Propyl ethanoate
Acetate de propyle normal

Chemical Name French: Acétate de propyle normal
Chemical Name Spanish: Acetato de n-propilo
Acetato de 1 - propilo
Acetato de propilo
1 - Acetoxipropano
Acido acético, éster n - propílico
CAS Registry Number: 109-60-4
UN/NA Number(s): 1276
RTECS Number(s): AJ3675000
EU EINECS/ELINCS Number: 203-686-1
Chemical Family: Aliphatic carboxylic acid ester / saturated aliphatic carboxylic acid ester / saturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acid ester / alkyl alkanoate / acetic acid ester / acetate / propyl ester
Molecular Formula: C5-H10-O2
Structural Formula: CH3-C(=O)-0-CH2-CH2-CH3


Appearance and Odour:
Colourless liquid, fruity (pear-like odour).(8,14)

Odour Threshold:
0.048-0.7 ppm (detection); 0.14-26 ppm (recognition) (15)

Warning Properties:
GOOD - TLV is approximately 10 times the odour threshold

Uses and Occurrences:
Flavour and fragrance ingredient; solvent for printing inks, nitrocellulose and other cellulose derivatives, natural and synthetic resins, lacquers, chlorinated rubber, and heat-reactive phenolics; organic synthesis; laboratory reagent; used in recovery of acetic acid from dilute aqueous solutions.(1,2)


Colourless liquid with a fruity, pear-like odour. FLAMMABLE LIQUID AND VAPOUR. Vapour is heavier than air and may spread long distances. Distant ignition and flashback are possible. Mild central nervous system depressant. High vapour concentrations may cause headache, nausea, dizziness, incoordination and confusion.


Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure

At concentrations above 200 ppm, propyl acetates are irritating to the nose and larynx. Constriction of the lungs and coughing have been reported.(3)
Based on animal information and comparison to related acetates, high concentrations of the vapour may cause irritation of the nose and throat, as well as headache, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath and other signs of depression of the central nervous system.

Skin Contact:
There is no human information available. n-Propyl acetate is probably not irritating based on animal information.

Eye Contact:
There is no human information. The liquid may be mildly irritating based on animal information. The vapours of a closely related acetate, isopropyl acetate, have caused eye irritation with exposure to 200 ppm for 15 minutes.

There is no human information available. Animal information indicates that oral toxicity is low. Ingestion of very large amounts may result in symptoms of central nervous system depression, as described for inhalation. Ingestion is not a typical route of occupational exposure.

Effects of Long-Term (Chronic) Exposure

There is no specific human or animal information available.

SKIN: Prolonged or repeated contact may cause redness, dryness, cracking (dermatitis) due to the defatting action of this solvent.(3)


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. Probably not teratogenic or embryotoxic.

Reproductive Toxicity:
There is no human or animal information available. Probably not a reproductive hazard.

There is no information available. Probably not mutagenic.

Toxicologically Synergistic Materials:
No information is available.

Potential for Accumulation:
Probably does not accumulate. n-Propyl acetate is readily absorbed through the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract.(8) Based on studies with other related acetates, it is probably metabolized (broken down) to n- propanol and acetic acid, which are metabolized further.


This chemical is flammable. Take proper precautions (e.g. remove any sources of ignition). If the victim is unconscious or does not respond, take proper precautions to ensure your own safety before attempting rescue; e.g., wear appropriate protective equipment, use the "buddy" system. 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, flush with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 5 minutes or until the chemical is removed. Obtain medical advice.

Eye Contact:
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 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 to dilute material in the stomach. If vomiting occurs naturally, rinse mouth and repeat administration of water. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should begin artificial respiration or, if the heart has stopped, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. 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:
13.0-14.4 deg C (55.4-58 deg F) (closed cup) (1,10)

Lower Flammable (Explosive) Limit (LFL/LEL):
1.7% at 38 deg C (1)

Upper Flammable (Explosive) Limit (UFL/UEL):
8% (1)

Autoignition (Ignition) Temperature:
450 deg C (842 deg F) (1)

Sensitivity to Mechanical Impact:
Not sensitive, since it is a stable compound.

Sensitivity to Static Charge:
Probably will not accumulate static charge, since it has a high electrical conductivity (2.2 x 10(7) pS/m).(12) 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 13.0 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. During a fire, irritating/toxic gases may be generated. Can accumulate in confined spaces, resulting in a toxicity and flammability hazard. Concentrated solutions in water may be flammable. Closed containers may rupture violently when heated.

Extinguishing Media:
Carbon dioxide, dry chemical powder, alcohol foam, polymer foam. Water may be ineffective because it will not cool n-propyl acetate below its flash point. Fire fighting foams are the extinguishing agent of choice for most flammable liquid fires.(13)

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. Water spray can be used to dilute spills to nonflammable mixtures 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,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 - 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: 102.13

Conversion Factor:
1 ppm = 4.17 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.240 ppm at 25 deg C (calculated)

Physical State: Liquid
Melting Point: -92 deg C (-133.6 deg F) (2,12,16); -95 deg C (139 deg F) (16,17)
Boiling Point: 101.6 deg C (214.9 deg C) (1,17)
Relative Density (Specific Gravity): 0.887 at 20 deg C (water = 1) at 20 deg F.(1,17)
Solubility in Water: Moderately soluble (18.9 g/100 mL at 20 deg C; 26 g/100 mL at 20 deg C) (16)
Solubility in Other Liquids: Soluble in all proportions in alcohols, ketones, esters, hydrocarbons, diethyl ether, and castor and linseed oils.(2)
Coefficient of Oil/Water Distribution (Partition Coefficient): Log P(oct) = 1.39; 1.60 (calculated) (16)
pH Value: Not available; probably neutral.
Vapour Density: 3.52 (air = 1)
Vapour Pressure: 3.33 kPa (25 mm Hg) at 20 deg C; 4.67 kPa (35 mm Hg) at 25 deg C) (16)
Saturation Vapour Concentration: 46060 ppm (4.61%) at 25 deg C (calculated)
Evaporation Rate: 6.1 (diethyl ether = 1) (2)
Critical Temperature: 276 deg C (529 deg F) (2)

Other Physical Properties:
SURFACE TENSION: 24.3 mN/m (24.3 dynes/cm) at 20 deg C (2)
CRITICAL PRESSURE: 3344 kPa (33 atm) (2)


Stable in the anhydrous state. May slowly hydrolyze to n-propanol and acetic acid in the presence of water.(1)

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.(13,14)
STRONG ACIDS (e.g. sulfuric acid, oleum, and chlorosulfonic acid), STRONG BASES - decomposition (hydrolysis) can occur, releasing heat. The reaction may be vigorous.(13,14)
POTASSIUM TERT-BUTOXIDE - contact with n-propyl acetate vapour may cause ignition.
REACTIVE NITROGEN COMPOUNDS (e.g. azo and diazocompounds, nitrides, hydrazines) - increased risk of fire and explosion.(10)

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
n-Propanol, acetic acid

Conditions to Avoid:
Flames, sparks, electrostatic discharge, heat and other ignition sources, moisture.

Corrosivity to Metals:
Not corrosive to iron, steel, aluminum, copper and nickel and their alloys.(18)

Stability and Reactivity Comments:
Can attack some plastics.(1)


LETHAL CONCENTRATION (rat): Four of six rats exposed to 8000 ppm for 4 hours died.(4)

LD50 (oral, rat): 8700 mg/kg; cited as 9.8 mL/kg (4)
LD50 (oral, mouse): 8300 mg/kg (5)
LD50 (oral, rabbit): 6600 mg/kg; cited as 65 mmols/kg (6)

LD50 (dermal, rabbit): greater than 17700 mg/kg; cited as 20 mL/kg (4)

Eye Irritation:

Application of 0.5 mL caused mild irritation in rabbits after 24 hours.(4) In another study, 1 drop caused reddening and slight swelling in rabbits, similar to the effect caused by 1% acetic acid.(7)

Skin Irritation:

Application of 0.5 mL caused no irritation in rabbits after 24 hours.(4)

Effects of Short-Term (Acute) Exposure:

Exposure to 5300 ppm (cited as 22 mg/L), 6 hours/day for 5 days caused eye irritation, drooling, fatigue, stupor, and slow breathing (symptoms of depression of the central nervous system) in cats, followed by recovery. Shorter exposures (30 minutes to 5 1/2 hours) to higher concentrations (7,400 or 24,000 ppm) caused incoordination and unconsciousness and some deaths.(7,8)

A single dose of 3.12 mg/kg did not cause liver damage in rats.(9)


Selected Bibliography:
(1) 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
(2) HSDB record for n-propyl acetate. Date of last update: 9501
(3) Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety. Vols. I & II. 3rd revised edition. International Labour Office, 1983. p. 702
(4) Smyth, Jr., H.F., et al. Range-finding toxicity data : list VII. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Vol. 30, no. 5 (September-October 1969). p. 470-476
(5) Jenner, P.M., et al. Food flavourings and compounds of related structure : 1. acute oral toxicity. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology. Vol. 2 (1964). p. 327-343
(6) Munch, J.C. Aliphatic alcohols and alkyl esters : narcotic and lethal potencies to tadpoles and to rabbits. The International Journal of Industrial Medicine and Surgery. Vol. 41, no.4 (April, 1972). p. 31-33
(7) Toxicology and hygiene of industrial solvents. The Williams & Wilkins Company, 1943. p. 224-225
(8) von Oettingen, W.F. The aliphatic acids and their esters: toxicity and potential dangers. A.M.A. Archives of Industrial Health. Vol. 21 (January, 1960). p. 28-65
(9) Taylor, J.M., et al. A comparison of the toxicity of some allyl, propenyl, and propyl compounds in the rat. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. Vol. 6 (1964). p. 378-387
(10) Emergency action guides. Association of American Railroads, October, 1984. p. 629-634
(11) Fire protection guide to hazardous materials. 13th ed. Edited by A.B. Spencer, et al. National Fire Protection Association, 2002. NFPA 325
(12) Chemical safety sheets: working safely with hazardous chemicals. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991. p. 759
(13) The Sigma-Aldrich library of chemical safety data. Edition II. Vol. 2. Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, 1988. p. 2961B
(14) NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, June, 1994. p. 266-267
(15) Odor thresholds for chemicals with established occupational health standards. American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1989. p. 28, 74
(16) Verschueren, K. Handbook of environmental data on organic chemicals. 2nd edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1983. p. 1025
(17) n-Propyl acetate. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values and biological exposure indices. 6th edition. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1991. p. 1300
(18) Corrosion data survey: metals section. 6th edition. National Association of Corrosion Engineers, 1985. p. 104-105
(19) Forsberg, K., et al. Quick selection guide to chemical protective clothing. 4th ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 2002
(20) European Communities. Commission Directive 98/98/EC. December 15, 1998
(21) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Organic Vapors. In: OSHA Analytical Methods Manual. Revision Date: Oct. 31, 2001. Available at: <>
(22) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Esters 1. 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: 1995-11-29

Revision Indicators:
Sampling 1996-06-01
EU number 1996-06-01
Respiratory guidelines 1996-06-01
US transport 1998-03-01
Resistance of materials 1998-06-01
Bibliography 2000-04-01
EU Class 2000-04-01
EU Risk 2000-04-01
EU Safety 2000-04-01
EU Comments 2000-04-01
Bibliography 2003-04-15
PEL transitional comments 2003-11-18
PEL-TWA final 2003-11-18
PEL-STEL final 2003-11-18
Resistance of materials for PPE 2004-03-31
Bibliography 2005-03-21
Passive Sampling Devices 2005-03-21
Sampling/analysis 2005-03-21

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