2-Xylene

CAS RN: 95-47-6

Hazards Summary

The major hazards encountered in the use and handling of 2-xylene stem from its toxicologic properties and flammability. Exposure to this colorless liquid may occur from its use as a chemical intermediate, as an industrial solvent, and as component of gasoline. Toxic by all routes of exposure (ie, dermal, ingestion, and inhalation), 2-xylene can cause effects including headache, dizziness, skin and eye irritation, kidney and liver damage, pulmonary edema, coma, and death. The ACGIH recommends a workplace exposure limit (TLV) of 100 ppm as an 8 hr time-weighted average (TWA); however, to assure protection, wear an approved canister or air-supplied mask, face shield, plastic gloves, apron, and boots and use non-sparking tools when handling 2-xylene. In emergency situations, a self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing are recommended. If contact does occur, immediately flush exposed eyes with running water, wash exposed skin with soap and water, and remove contaminated clothing. Individuals with diseases of the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, and blood should be protected from exposure. 2-Xylene is ignitable by heat, sparks, or flame (flash point: 16 deg C, closed cup) and may do so explosively in an enclosed area. Also, vapor may travel a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back. The heat of a fire may cause containers to explode and/or cause thermal degradation of 2-xylene, producing acrid smoke and toxic gases. Fires involving 2-xylene may be extinguished with dry chemical, CO2, water spray, fog, or foam. For massive fires in enclosed areas, use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles. If a 2-xylene tank car or truck is involved in a fire, isolate 1/2 mile in all directions. Runoff from fire control water may cause pollution, and, upon entering a sewer, may create an explosion hazard. Containers of 2-xylene should be bonded and grounded during transferring operations and metal safety cans be used for small amounts. For small spills of 2-xylene, take up with sand or other non-combustible absorbent and place in containers for later disposal, or absorb on paper and evaporate in an appropriate exhaust hood. In either case, take care to avoid contact with the liquid or vapor. For large spills, isolate the area, dike far ahead of the spill and collect the material for disposal. 2-Xylene is a good candidate for the Belliot process of oxidative destruction, as well as liquid injection, rotary kiln, and fluidized bed incineration. 2-Xylene may be sent to a solvent disposal company, but prior to implementing any land disposal of waste residue (including waste sludge), consult regulatory agencies for guidance.
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