|Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #)||
|Synonyms||Ethanol||Ethyl alcohol||Alcohol||Ethyl hydrate||Synasol||Tecsol
||EPA Method 8015||EPA Method 8260
Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details
on this compound.
|Use|| IN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES; MANUFACTURING OF DENATURED ALCOHOLS;
PHARMACEUTICALS; IN PERFUMERY; IN ORGANIC SYNTHESIS; OCTANE BOOSTER
IN GASOLINE; SOLVENT AND DEHYDRATING AGENT.
IN SYNTHETIC RUBBER, PAINT & LACQUER, & EXPLOSIVES INDUSTRIES;
Manufacturing of surface coatings; gasohol, yeast growth medium
Solvent for resins, fats, fatty acids, oils, hydrocarbons
DIRECT FOOD ADDITIVES
Manufacturing of acetaldehyde, acetic acid, ethylacetate, ethylchloride, ethylether, butadiene,
ethylene dibromide, plastics and plasticizers, soap and cleaning preparations, dyes, explosives
Medication: antiseptic, to destroy nerve tissue
For surgical suture packaging
Ethylene is manufactured by the vapor phase dehydration of ethanol
The addition of one mole of ethylene oxide to ethanol gives ethylene glycol monoethyl ether.
Dilute soln of alcohol as fermented worts are oxidized by air at 30-40 deg C in the presence of
various organisms to produce dilute acetic acid as vinegar.
Mono-, di-, and triethylamines, produced by catalytic reaction of ethanol with ammonia, are a
significant outlet for ethanol. In the synthesis of ethyl acrylate, the esterification of acrylic acid is a
major use for ethanol.
The addition of ethanol to acetylene gives ethyl vinyl ether.
|Consumption Patterns|| MOTOR FUEL SUPPLEMENT, 25%; SOLVENT FOR: TOILETRIES &
COSMETICS, 11%; COATINGS, INKS & PROPRIETARY BLENDS, 11%; DETERGENTS,
DISINFECTANTS & FLAVORINGS, 7%; PROCESSING, 5%; PHARMACEUTICALS, 2%;
OTHER SOLVENT USES, 2%; CHEM INTERMED FOR: GLYCOL ETHERS, 6%; ETHYL
ACRYLATE, 6%; ETHYL AMINES, 5%; ETHYL ACETATE, 3%; ACETALDEHYDE, 3%;
OTHER USES, 4% (1981 NON-BEVERAGE USE)
Chemicals manufacture, 40%; vinegar, 8%; solvents: coatings & inks, 15%; solvents: cosmetics &
toiletries, 15%; solvents: foods flavors, and pharmaceuticals, 12%; other solvents, 5%;
miscellaneous, 5% (1984 estimate)
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Synthetic ethanol: chemical intermediate (for ethyl acetate, ethyl
acrylate, glycol ethers, ethylamines and other), 30%; toiletries and cosmetics, 20%; coatings
solvent, 15%; vinegar, 10%; household cleaners, 7%; detergents, 5%; pharmaceuticals, 5%;
printing inks, 3%; miscellaneous, 5%. Fermentation ethanol: fuel component, 90%; beverages,
8%; industrial (chemical and solvent) uses, 2% (1988).
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Ethanol. Demand: Synthetic/1987: 210 million gallons; 1988: 215
million gallons; 1992 projected/: 230 million gallons. (Includes 15 to 20 million gallons of
synthetic ethanol imports; exports are negligible). Fermentation/1987: 860 million gallons; 1988:
950 million gallons; 1992 projected/: 1,150 million gallons (Foreign trade is minimal) (1988).
|Apparent Color|| CLEAR, COLORLESS, VERY MOBILE LIQUID
|Odor|| Mild, rather pleasant; like wine or whiskey
|Boiling Point|| 78.5 DEG C
|Melting Point|| -114.1 DEG C
|Molecular Weight|| 46.07
|Density|| 0.789 @ 20 DEG C/4 DEG C
|Odor Threshold Concentration|| 10 PPM
1.00X10-1 mg/l gas (detection in air, purity not specified)
1.00X10 2 mg/l liquid (detection in water, purity not specified)
9.23 ppm (detection in water, purity not specified)
2.50X10-1 ppm (detection in water, purity not specified)
5.75 ppm (detection in water, purity not specified)
1.88X10-1 ppm (detection in water, purity not specified)
1.00X10 2 ppm (detection in water, purity not specified)
1.00X10 1 ppm (recognition in air, chemically pure)
4.40X10 3 ppm (detection in air, purity not specified)
2.40X10 13 molecules/cu cm (in air, purity not specified)
3.30X10 13 molecules/cu cm (in air, purity not specified)
Odor thresholds: 0.3420 mg/cu m (low) 9690.000 mg/cu m (high).
|Environmental Impact|| Ethanol will enter the environment as emissions from its manufacture, use as a solvent and
chemical intermediate, and release in fermentation and alcoholic beverage preparation. It naturally
occurs as a plant volatile, microbial degradation product of animal wastes, and in natural
fermentation of carbohydrates. When spilled on land it is apt to volatilize, biodegrade, and leach
into the ground water, but no data on the rates of these processes could be found. Its fate in
ground water is unknown. When released into water it will volatilize and probably biodegrade. It
would not be expected to adsorb to sediment or bioconcentrate in fish. Although no data on its
biodegradation in natural waters could be found, laboratory tests suggest that it may readily
biodegrade and its detection in water systems may be due in part to its extensive use in industry
with possible relatively steady and large levels of discharges. When released to the atmosphere it
will photodegrade in hours (polluted urban atmosphere) to an estimated range of 4 to 6 days in
less polluted areas. Rainout should be significant. Human exposure will be primarily in
occupational atmospheres and consumption of products containing ethanol. Exposure will also
occur from other contaminated atmospheres especially in proximity to industries and cities, and
ingestion of contaminated drinking water, as well as proximity to sources of natural release.
|Environmental Fate|| TERRESTRIAL FATE: When spilled on soil, ethanol will both evaporate and leach into
the ground due to the relatively high vapor pressure and low adsorption in soil. It will biodegrade
in soil, probably to acetic acid and formaldehyde . If degradation is not rapid, it will leach into
AQUATIC FATE: When released into water, ethanol will volatilize (estimated half life is 6 days)
and biodegrade. It will not sorb to sediment or bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms. Although it
readily biodegrades in laboratory tests, no data on its rate of degradation in natural waters could
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: When released into the atmosphere, ethanol will photodegrade with a
half-life ranging from hours in polluted urban atmospheres to approximately 6 days in cleaner
atmospheres (based on a hydroxyl radical concn of 8X10 6 moles/cu cm). Due to its solubility in
water, rainout may be an important process.
|Drinking Water Impact|| DRINKING WATER: Detected (not quantified) in 5 city public supplies ; detected
(not quantified) in city public supplies(2-4). Philadelphia (1975-1976), identified, not quantified,
in 1 of 3 water treatment plants and in drinking water of 1 of 1 hotel .
GROUNDWATER: Ethanol was found in groundwater suspected of leachate contamination
(based on levels of inorganics) 190 ppb (1/13 sites pos), and detected at 58 ppb in landfill
groundwater where inorganic levels indicated good or unknown water quality . Not detected in
Miami, FL .
SURFACE WATER: Detected (not quantified) in 4 raw water sources - uncontaminated and
contaminated with agricultural runoff, municipal or industrial wastes ; Hayashida River (Jpn)
highly polluted by leather industry, 4020 ppb . Detected at 58 ppb in landfill groundwater where
inorganic levels indicated good or unknown water quality .
RAIN/SNOW: Santa Rita, AZ (rural), concn in precipitation, 15 ppb (by mass), ratio of concn in
precipitation/condensate 0.31 .
EFFL: Ethanol was detected in leachate from Minnesota landfills in the range of 23,000 ppb to
110,000 ppb (2/6 sites pos) . Traces found in 1 of 11 domestic wells near Granby, CT landfill,