butyl acrylate toxicity

Chuck Miller rellim at MAILHOST.TCS.TULANE.EDU
Tue Nov 3 10:48:50 EST 1998

>From: Tom McCloud <McCloud at dtpax2.ncifcrf.gov>
>Subject: butyl acrylate toxicity

Tom wrote,
>There was a terrible, fiery traffic accident on US Rt. 50 near
>Clarksburg, W.Va. two weeks ago. A tanker truck carrying butyl
>acrylate overturned and burned, killing the driver. This post is about
>the response of the state highway department, which declared that since
>the extremely hazardous chemical, butyl acrylate, had soaked into the
>asphalt and bed of the roadway it would be necessary to rip that up and
>carry it to a hazardous waste site for disposal, and rebuild and re-pave
>the roadway before it could be opened to traffic.
>I'm not a toxicologist, but I am a chemist. I read the MSD for butyl
>acrylate, and it's LD50 in mice is in the grams range. It is not a
>carcinogen. It is less flammable than gasoline. It does not contain a
>halogen. In my own lab I would treat it like any other run-of-the-mill
>slightly flammable chemical, without great concern. So I have to
>think that the response of the highway department was excessive for this
>specific case. A good cleanup, for sure, and maybe a fresh coat of
>asphault over the wreck site, but dig it up and haul it someplace for
>burial??? Is that really called for? Looking for some expert
>Tom McCloud
>Frederick Cancer Research

I agree with you, Tom. I am neither an expert on butyl acrylate nor on its
remediation, but it seems to me that ripping up the concrete and asphalt
only to (probably) bury it in a landfill makes sense only if you are a
politician who needs to give the impression that you are doing something.
Given the nature of butyl acrylate, it seems to me that it would be a
relatively good target for natural degradation.

Interestingly, the upcoming peer review of some related compounds,
acrylonitrile and acrolein, has been expanded to include acrylamide. The
review is organized by Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA,
http://www.tera.org/peer). Perhaps they can provide some fresh information
on the subject.

Dr. Charles A. Miller III,   rellim at mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu
Dept. Environmental Health Sciences, SL29
Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research and
Tulane Univ. School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
1430 Tulane Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504)585-6942, fax (504)584-1726
Bionet.toxicology newsgroup: http://www.bio.net/hypermail/TOXICOLOGY

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