Glacial Acetic Acid Safety Notes


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Corrosive, penetrates latex gloves, do not inhale or ingest, use under a hood, flammable or explosive if mixed with air at teperatures over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, special storage conditions


Chemical Formula

Glacial acetic acid is a trivial name for water-free (anhydrous) acetic acid. Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3COOH. It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Although it is classified as a weak acid, acetic acid is highly dangerous to skin. A common abbreviation for acetic acid is HOAc, where Ac stands for the acetyl group CH3−C(=O)−.

Common Names: ethanoic acid, vinegar (a dilute solution of acetic acid - for safety data on vinegar, click here), glacial acetic acid, ethylic acid, methanecarboxylic acid, vinegar acid

Safe Usage

This chemical penetrates ordinary latex gloves. Use nitrile rubber gloves. Double-gloving is a good precaution. You should wear full protection in addition to non-latex gloves: lab coat, googles or face mask, covered lower extremities. Good ventilation is very important when working with this chemical. You should ALWAYS use this chemical under a ventilation hood. See also the Team:Baltimore/Working under the Hood Page.

Safe Storage

Because of its low conbustion temperature, glacial acetic acid is best stored in a refrigerator or -4 degree Centigrade freezer. This is much safer than storing it in an ordinary lab cabinet, even if it is a locked, metal cabinet. It is generally shiped in a small-necked glass container. The small neck reduces splash hazard if there is a spill, and the glass is not affected by the corrosive properties of the acid. It should not be stored near strong oxidizers like sodium peroxide, nitric acid and chromic acid, strong acids, or strong bases like chlorine bleach.

NIOSH Advises storage under the following conditions: Fireproof. Separated from strong oxidants, strong acids, strong bases, food and feedstuffs . Store in original container. Well closed. Keep in a well-ventilated room. Store in an area without drain or sewer access.

Hazardous Properties and Proper Emergency Procedures

Class II Combustible Liquid: Fl.P. at or above 100°F and below 140°F.

Incompatibilities & Reactivities Strong oxidizers (especially chromic acid, sodium peroxide & nitric acid), strong caustics [Note: Corrosive to metals.]

Exposure Routes inhalation, skin and/or eye contact

Symptoms irritation eyes, skin, nose, throat; eye, skin burns; skin sensitization; dental erosion; black skin, hyperkeratosis; conjunctivitis, lacrimation (discharge of tears); pharyngeal edema, chronic bronchitis

Target Organs Eyes, skin, respiratory system, teeth

First Aid Eye: Irrigate immediately Skin: Water flush immediately Breathing: Respiratory support Swallow: Medical attention immediately

Respirator Recommendations


Up to 50 ppm: (APF = 25) Any supplied-air respirator operated in a continuous-flow mode£ (APF = 25) Any powered, air-purifying respirator with organic vapor cartridge(s)£ (APF = 50) Any chemical cartridge respirator with a full facepiece and organic vapor cartridge(s) (APF = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted organic vapor canister (APF = 50) Any self-contained breathing apparatus with a full facepiece (APF = 50) Any supplied-air respirator with a full facepiece

If Spilled

Remove all ignition sources. Personal protection: chemical protection suit including self-contained breathing apparatus. Collect leaking liquid in sealable containers. Cautiously neutralize spilled liquid with sodium carbonate only under the responsibility of an expert. Do NOT let this chemical enter the environment.


CDC's NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards at

NIOSH's International Chemical Safety Cards Card Number: ICSC 0363 See

Oxford University's Hands-On Education Group at

The MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheet) for glacial acetic acid at