LyondellBasell is a leading producer of propylene. Propylene is an ethylene co-product produced during the manufacturing process. Propylene can be used to produce polypropylene, acrylonitrile and propylene oxide.
Benefits and Applications
Propylene is used in the production of polypropylene caps, closures, rigid packaging and carpet facing and backing; high-impact plastics for items from computers to automobile parts; urethane foams for seating and insulation; and acrylic fibers for clothing.
The acute toxicity of propylene is low, but very high concentrations may cause anesthesia, asphyxia and, possibly, cardiac sensitization. There is no evidence to suggest that propylene is a skin or eye irritant, but evaporating liquid may cause frost injuries. Propylene produces mild nasal inflammation and associated epithelial alterations in rodents following repeated long-term exposure to high concentrations. No signs of developmental toxicity were observed in a screening inhalation test of rats exposed to high concentrations. No effects on male or female reproductive organs were observed in rats or mice following repeated long-term inhalation exposures of propylene at high concentrations. The weight of evidence indicates that propylene is not genotoxic. Propylene was negative for carcinogenicity in a chronic study conducted in rats and mice. Propylene is metabolized in the body to propylene oxide, a substance that under certain conditions is genotoxic and a site of contact animal carcinogen; however, this conversion is of doubtful toxicologic significance given propylene's lack of demonstrated genotoxicity and carcinogenicity.
Storage and Handling
Do not handle near heat, sparks or flame. Avoid contact with incompatible agents. Use only with adequate ventilation/personal protection. Avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. Do not enter storage area unless adequately ventilated. Metal containers involved in the transfer of this material should be grounded and bonded.
Store cylinders outdoors without direct sunlight or heat radiation and with adequate ventilation. Provide electrical equipment with spark resistant construction. Compressed gases should be stored in a separate safety storage cabinet or room. Do not enter enclosed storage without respirator or else assured of adequate oxygen.