Everything to Know About the Hazards of Hexane

Everything to Know About the Hazards of Hexane

Does your company use hexane in your manufacturing process? Have you documented employee training and safety procedures?

If you feel unsure about your compliance, keep reading to feel more confident. You will learn about the hazards of hexane and solutions to ensure staff safety.

What Is Hexane?

Hexane is a chemical byproduct of oil refining. Its exact composition depends on if it comes from crude or refined oil. Constraints on the refining process also affect its components.

This compound is a colorless, odorless liquid at room temperature and pressure. The relatively small hydrocarbons found in hexane create vapers. It’s an alkane and a volatile organic compound.

What Are the Uses of Hexane?

Hexane is an unreactive and non-polar solvent used in organic reactions. It’s a popular solvent for extracting oil from rice bran and canola and soy seeds. These extracts create cooking oils.

It’s also used as a cleaner and degreaser for many items and in textile manufacturing. It can clean shoes and furniture. Most American soy products contain some hexane. 

Hazards of Hexane

The properties of hexane give it a low viscosity and a low temperature for vaporization. The biggest concern is its flammability. Hexane poses several health risks.

Chronic or repeated eye and skin hexane contact can cause:

  • Mild eye irritation
  • Visual disturbances
  • Defatting of the skin and rashes
  • Burning pain, redness, and itching of the skin
  • Absorption through the skin

Inhaling or ingesting hazardous chemicals, such as hexane, can cause:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Chemical pneumonitis 
  • Irritation of the respiratory tract
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Dizziness or suffocation due to oxygen displacement

Laboratory experiments have demonstrated several peripheral neuropathies related to chronic exposure. These include muscle weakness, paresthesias, and hand, foot, leg, and arm numbness. This causes trouble walking, standing, controlling muscles, and changes sensations.

Understanding Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals regulates SDSs. They have established standard criteria for classifying and communicating chemical hazard information.

Today, SDSs must contain 16 specific sections. This provides standard, comprehensive information about the chemical. They educate workers about the hazards associated with the chemicals they use.

Safety with Hexane Use

When using hexane, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn. This includes goggles, gloves, safety clothing and shoes, and respirators.

Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing the hexane vapors. After removing contaminated PPE, the employee should wash their hands.

When dispensing the hexane, ground, and bond the containers. Ensure that containers remain tightly closed and away from heat or flames.

Disposing of Hexane

Empty hexane containers retain some of the chemicals and remain dangerous. Containers must always be kept in cool, dry, and well-ventilated areas. Ensure they’re separated from incompatible materials that could cause ignition or oxidization.

All hexane must follow hazardous waste protocols. Send excess hexane to an RCRA approved incinerator or other approved disposal facility. Follow all federal, state, and local procedures for disposing of hexane.

Do You Work with Hazardous Materials?

This article focused on the hazards of hexane. Many businesses work with a variety of hazardous chemicals. This means they must adhere to all guidelines for posting SDSs in the workplace.

Online-SDS™ is ready to offer an easy solution for maintaining compliance. We offer a complete suite of compliance management solutions.

You can choose between 24/7/365 operator assistance, personalized service, or a monthly invoicing option. There are no initial startup fees.

This cohesive system will ensure you meet regulatory compliance. Schedule a demonstration today to see how our services can optimize the management of your hazardous materials.

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