Worker Protection and Acrylonitrile Safe Handling

Individuals working with acrylonitrile (AN) are trained on its hazards and the proper safe handling procedures. Individual worker exposure, temperature and ventilation are monitored to ensure levels are below occupational exposure limits and a safe environment is maintained. In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Adminisitration (OSHA) has a health standard for AN that includes a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 2 ppm (time-weight average) for an 8-hr shift. Additionally, appropriate protective clothing is worn to avoid accidental exposure to the skin.

Storage, spill, leak, disposal, and security procedures are in place to preventive accidental release to the environment, fire, or explosion. Acrylonitrile producers add inhibitors to AN shipments to prevent the rapid self-polymerization that may lead to storage system failure, release and possible explosion. Acrylonitrile is also stored separate from incompatible substances such as strong oxidizers and bases, copper, copper alloys, ammonia, and amines that would react with the AN also potentially leading to release, fire and explosion. The AN Group has developed a guide to promote the safe handling of acrylonitrile.

Acrylonitrile is regulated under a variety of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act.

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