Understanding the SDS for Acetonitrile: Safe Handling Practices

Chemical safety is a critical issue that crosses industry lines. Substances like acetonitrile pose significant risks if not handled safely, and can lead to major incidents in many cases. 

Below, you will find a list of essential safety practices based on the SDS for acetonitrile that can act as guidelines for you moving forward. Read on to learn how to best handle and store this chemical, as well as what to do in the case of an emergency. This knowledge can not only help you keep a safe working environment but help others achieve the same.

Overview of the SDS for Acetonitrile

Acetonitrile is a clear, colorless liquid with a strong odor. It is also often known as methyl cyanide and ethanenitrile. 

It is a common chemical found in laboratories and used for a wide variety of purposes, including:

  • Chromatography 
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • DNA synthesis
  • Plastic casting

While this list is not exhaustive, it should give you a good idea of the extensive use of this material in many different locations.

Responding to First-Aid Issues Involving Acetonitrile

Before anything else, you should make sure you understand the steps you need to take if someone becomes hurt due to exposure to this chemical. 

Eye contact: Carefully wash with water for at least 15 minutes, removing contact lenses if safe to do so. If eye irritation persists, seek medical attention.

Skin contact: Cleanse thoroughly with water for at least 15 minutes. Remove any contaminated clothing to prevent further contact and wash it before further use

Inhalation: Move the affected person to fresh air immediately. Place the individual in a restful position, allowing them to breathe easily. Use artificial respiration if necessary.

Ingestion: Rinse out the mouth of the exposed individual and call a poison control center immediately. Do NOT induce vomiting. 

In all cases, contact a poison center or a physician if the exposed individual feels unwell.

Chemical Handling Guidelines

Ensure you wear appropriate PPE when you intend to handle acetonitrile. At the minimum, you should use the following

  • Protective gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Eye protection 

If there is a risk of splashing, make sure to also use a face shield to protect yourself. If you plan to work with this material in a poorly ventilated area you should also use respiratory protection.

Due to the danger of potential exposure, regularly inspect and maintain any PPE you use. This will guarantee both you and any colleagues remain safe from accidental interaction.

For more information on the specific protection you need, be sure you read the safety data sheet in detail.

SOP for Handling Acetonitrile Safely

In addition to the above, there are several other specific steps you should take.

The material is highly flammable. For this reason, you need to keep it away from open flames or other sources of ignition.

Make sure to always use non-sparking tools. Any equipment should also be explosion-proof and safe from static discharge.

Ensure you use adequate ventilation when handling acetonitrile, especially in confined areas. Make use of a fume hood if necessary. Also, position any eyewash stations and safety showers close to where you need to work.

When you dispose of any chemical you have not yet used, make sure to do so in an approved waste disposal plant only. Use suitable, closed containers to prevent spillage or spread. Never release it into the wider environment.

Acetonitrile Storage Tips

You should only store acetonitrile in closed, sealed containers well away from heat, sparks, and open flames. Check the area to make sure it’s well-ventilated and dry and that you segregate it from substances that may interact with it. These include:

  • Strong oxidizing agents
  • Strong acids
  • Reducing agents
  • Bases

Once in place, make sure to regularly inspect any storage containers you use for leaks or damage. This will guarantee its safety long-term.

To help with this process, take the following steps to ensure the safety of everyone who may need to interact with the stored chemical:

  • Regularly review storage protocols and update them if necessary
  • Clearly label and storage areas
  • Ensure SDS are accessible at short notice.
  • Train all staff who may enter the area on proper storage techniques
  • Keep detailed records of where you store acetonitrile and how much you have stored

Reacting to Spills and Leaks

If spills do happen, evacuate the area immediately. As the chemical is highly flammable, you should remove all potential sources of ignition to prevent escalation.

Make sure the area is also well-ventilated to prevent inhalation of the vapors. Then, using an inert and absorbent material, attempt to contain the spill using only spark-proof tools.

You may then dispose of the cleanup material. When doing so, adhere to your local waste regulations.

Acetonitrile Safety Procedures

Be aware that short-term exposure to acetonitrile can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Those exhibiting these symptoms should be moved to a safer area immediately.

Chronic exposure can cause respiratory and neurological issues. As such, always monitor air quality and exposure levels and follow all other lab safety procedures. Use detection systems to give you an early warning of high vapor concentrations so you can take action as soon as possible.

If you find others have received acetonitrile exposure, immediately undergo decontamination procedures. You should then seek medical attention. Report incidents to supervisors, and follow up with the affected individual.

If an acetonitrile fire breaks out, you may use the following extinguishers:

  • Water spray
  • CO2
  • Sand
  • Alcohol-resistant foam
  • Dry sand

Avoid using water stream extinguishers as these may spread out the acetonitrile further.

Remember to use protective equipment when fire-fighting due to the potential for toxic combustion. Wear full protective gear and self-contained breathing systems.

Organizing and Handling Your Chemical Safety Data

Proper handling and storage of chemicals such as acetonitrile promotes the safety of everyone in your employment. The best way to do this is to leverage a powerful system that can supply an SDS for acetonitrile at any time. KHA supplies a comprehensive SDS management service that can do this for businesses like yours. 

Such a system can help you maintain long-term compliance and safety. So, contact KHA to learn more about how you can update your SDS system to ensure better chemical safety management in the future.