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Working With IPA(isopropyl Alcohol)
Apr 25, 2018

Isopropyl alcohol (C 3H 8O) is a flammable, colorless liquid with a slightly pleasant odor. It is used in manufacturing acetone, glycerol and isopropyl acetate. A solvent for many oils, alkaloids, gums and resins, it also serves as a deicing agent for liquid fuels.

The chemical compound is used in extraction processes, as a dehydrating agent, a preservative, in lotions and as a laboratory reagent. Common names for it include IPA, rubbing alcohol, dimethyl carbinol, isopropanol, 2-propanol and sec-propyl alcohol.

Common Routes, Effects and First Aid

  • Inhalation: Leave the contaminated area immediately and take deep breaths of fresh air. If symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or burning in the mouth, throat or chest develop, call a doctor.

  • Contact with Skin: Flood the skin with water. Remove and isolate contaminated clothing. Gently and thoroughly wash all affected skin areas with soap and water. Call a doctor if symptoms such as redness or irritation develop.

  • Contact with Eyes: Check the victim for contact lenses; remove if present. Flush eyes with water or normal saline solution for 20-30 minutes and call a hospital or the poison control center. Do not put any ointments, oils or medication in the victim’s eyes without instructions from a doctor. Transport the victim after flushing eyes to a hospital even if no symptoms such as redness or irritation develop.

  • Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting; volatile chemicals have a high risk of being aspirated into the lungs during vomiting. If the victim is conscious and not convulsing, give 1-2 glasses of water to dilute the chemical. Call a hospital or the poison control center. If the victim is convulsing or unconscious, do not give anything by mouth, ensure that the victim’s airway is open and lay the victim on his or her side with the head lower than the body. Refer to a material safety data sheet (MSDS).

    Proper Handling and Storage Procedures

    Before working with isopropyl alcohol, individuals should be trained in its proper handling and storage and know how to use proper personal protective equipment. Store the compound in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from incompatible substances. Keep away from heat, sparks, flames and other sources of ignition, as well as strong oxidizers, acetaldehyde, chlorine, ethylene oxide, acids and isocyanates. A flammable safety cabinet is the best storage option.

    Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable and can easily ignite. Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air, traveling to a source of ignition and flash back. Use of water spray to fight fires may be inefficient.

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