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Bromoethane Basic information

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Bromoethane Chemical Properties

Melting point:
-119 °C
Boiling point:
37-40 °C(lit.)
1.46 g/mL at 25 °C(lit.)
vapor density 
~3.75 (vs air)
vapor pressure 
25.32 psi ( 55 °C)
refractive index 
n20/D 1.425(lit.)
Flash point:
-23 °C
storage temp. 
Miscible with ethanol, ether, chloroform and organic solvents.
Clear colorless to slightly yellow
explosive limit
Water Solubility 
0.91 g/100 mL (20 ºC)
Light Sensitive
Henry's Law Constant
7.56(x 10-3 atm?m3/mol) at 25 °C (Hine and Mookerjee, 1975)
Exposure limits
TLV-TWA 200 ppm (~90 mg/m3) (ACGIH, MSHA, OSHA, and NIOSH); TLV STEL 250 ppm (~110 mg/m3) (ACGIH); IDLH 3500 ppm (NIOSH).
Stable. Highly flammable. Readily forms explosive mixtures with air. Note low flash point. Incompatible with alkali metals, aluminium, magnesium, strong bases, water, strong oxidizing agents. May be light sensitive.
CAS DataBase Reference
74-96-4(CAS DataBase Reference)
NIST Chemistry Reference
Ethane, bromo-(74-96-4)
EPA Substance Registry System
Bromoethane (74-96-4)

Safety Information

Hazard Codes 
Risk Statements 
Safety Statements 
UN 1891 6.1/PG 2
WGK Germany 
Autoignition Temperature
952 °F
HS Code 
2903 39 19
Hazardous Substances Data
74-96-4(Hazardous Substances Data)
LC50 rats, mice (ppm): 27000, 16200 (Vernot)



Bromoethane Usage And Synthesis

Chemical Properties

colourless liquid with an ether-like odour

Chemical Properties

Ethyl bromide is a colorless liquid (turns yellow on contact with air) with an ethereal odor and a burning taste. A gas above the boiling point.

Physical properties

Clear, colorless to yellow, volatile liquid with an ether-like odor. Odor threshold concentration is 3.1 ppm (quoted, Amoore and Hautala, 1983).


Ethylating agent in organic synthesis; as refrigerant. Formerly used as a topical and inhalation anesthetic.


Ethyl bromide is used as a refrigerant and asan ethylating agent. It was formerly used asa topical anesthetic.


A colorless volatile compound, used as a refrigerant. It can be made from ethene and hydrogen bromide.

General Description

A colorless volatile liquid. Slightly soluble in water and denser than water. Flash point below 0°F. Vapors are heavier than air. Toxic by inhalation. Irritates skin and eyes. Used to make pharmaceuticals and as a solvent.

Air & Water Reactions

Highly flammable. Slightly soluble in water and denser than water. Turns yellow on exposure to air and light.

Reactivity Profile

Bromoethane will react with steam to produce toxic and corrosive fumes. Bromoethane can react vigorously with oxidizers. Bromoethane reacts with strong bases. Bromoethane also reacts with chemically active metals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, powdered aluminum, zinc and magnesium. Bromoethane will attack some forms of plastics, rubber and coatings.


Toxic by ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption; strong irritant. Questionable carcinogen. Flammable, dangerous fire hazard, explosion limits in air 6–11%.

Health Hazard

TOXIC; may be fatal if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through skin. Inhalation or contact with some of these materials will irritate or burn skin and eyes. Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. Runoff from fire control or dilution water may cause pollution.

Health Hazard

Ethyl bromide is a depressant of the centralnervous system, causing narcosis. The healthhazard is greater than with ethyl chloride.In addition to the narcotic effects that occurat exposure to high concentrations, othertoxic symptoms include irritation of the eyesand respiratory tract, pulmonary edema, fattydegeneration of the liver and renal tissue, anddamage to the liver, kidney, and intestine. A15-minute exposure to a 15% concentrationof vapor in air was lethal to rats. The oralLD50 value in rats is 1350 mg (NIOSH 1986).

Fire Hazard

HIGHLY FLAMMABLE: Will be easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames. Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air. Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back. Most vapors are heavier than air. They will spread along ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks). Vapor explosion and poison hazard indoors, outdoors or in sewers. Runoff to sewer may create fire or explosion hazard. Containers may explode when heated. Many liquids are lighter than water.

Safety Profile

Confirmed carcinogen. Moderately toxic by ingestion and intraperitoneal routes. Mddly toxic by inhalation. An eye and skin irritant. Physiologically, it is an anesthetic and narcotic. Its vapors are markedly irritating to the lungs on inhalation for even short periods. It can produce acute congestion and edema. Liver and ludney damage in humans has been reported. It is much less toxic than methyl bromide, but more toxic than ethyl chloride. It is a preparative hazard. Dangerously flammable by heat, open flame (sparks), oxidizers. Moderately explosive when exposed to flame. Reacts with water or steam to produce toxic and corrosive fumes. Vigorous reaction with oxidizing materials. To fight fire, use CO2, dry chemical. Ready decomposes when heated to emit toxic fumes of Br-. See also BROMIDES.

Potential Exposure

This chemical is used as an industrial chemical, pharmaceutical, and veterinary drug; as an ethylating agent in organic synthesis and gasoline; as a refrigerant; and as an extraction solvent. It has limited use as a local anesthetic


This chemical is considered to be an animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans. There is no EPA (IRIS) file.
In the lifetime carcinogenic/toxicology study, groups of rats and mice were exposed 6 h/day, 5 days/week for 104 weeks to 0, 100, 200, or 400 ppm by inhalation. Survival of rats was unaffected or in the case of the 100 ppm female rats was significantly above the control group. Body weights were also unaffected.
Likewise survival of mice was little affected by exposure except for a decrease in survival at 400 ppm in female mice, which also had body weights 6–16% lower than controls after 29 weeks. No clinical signs were apparent in any group, but at autopsy there was evidence of respiratory irritation at 400 ppm. It was concluded that there was clear evidence of an increase in neoplasms (endometrial adenomas,adenocarcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas) in the uteri of female mice. The tumors contributed to the decreased survival of the female mice exposed to 400 ppm. The terminal rats of uterine tumors were 0, 3, 14, and 61% in the 0, 100, 200, and 400 ppm groups.
There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity in the lungs of male mice, and a marginally increased incidence of neoplasms in the brain and lungs of female rats. Male rats were considered to have some evidence of a slightly increased incidence of tumors in the adrenals, brain, and lungs. Although there was a clear dose–response relationship in female mice, the dose response in male mice and rats of both sexes was not as clear.

Environmental Fate

Biological. A strain of Acinetobacter sp. isolated from activated sludge degraded ethyl bromide to ethanol and bromide ions (Janssen et al., 1987). When Methanococcus thermolithotrophicus, Methanococcus deltae, and Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum were grown with H2-CO2 in the presence of ethyl bromide, methane and ethane were produced (Belay and Daniels, 1987).
Groundwater. Groundwater under reducing conditions in the presence of hydrogen sulfide converted ethyl bromide to sulfur-containing products (Schwarzenbach et al., 1985).
Chemical/Physical. Hydrolyzes in water forming ethanol and bromide ions. The estimated hydrolysis half-life at 25 °C and pH 7 is 30 d (Mabey and Mill, 1978).


UN1891 Ethyl bromide, Hazard Class: 6.1; Labels: 6.1-Poisonous materials.

Purification Methods

The main impurities are usually EtOH and water, both of which form azeotropes with it. Ethanol and unsaturated compounds can be removed by washing with conc H2SO4 until no further coloration is produced. The ethyl bromide is then washed with water, aqueous Na2CO3, and water again, then dried with CaCl2, MgSO4 or CaH2, and distilled from P2O5. Olefinic impurities can also be removed by storing the ethyl bromide in daylight with elemental bromine, later removing the free bromine by extraction with dilute aqueous Na2SO3, drying the ethyl bromide with CaCl2 and fractionally distilling it. Alternatively, unsaturated compounds can be removed by bubbling oxygen containing ca 5% ozone through the liquid for an hour, then washing with aqueous Na2SO3 to hydrolyse ozonides and remove hydrolysis products, followed by drying and distillation. [Beilstein 1 IV 150.]


May form explosive mixture with air. Hydrolyzes in water, forming hydrogen bromide (HBr). Oxidizers may cause fire or explosions. Fire and explosions may be caused by contact with chemically active metals: aluminum, magnesium or zinc powders; lithium, potassium, sodium. Attacks some plastic, rubber and coatings. Note: Chlorinating agents destroy nitrogen mustards. Dry chlorinated lime and chloramines with a high content of active chlorine, vigorously chlorinate nitrogen mustards to the carbon chain, giving low toxicity products. In the presence of water this interaction proceeds less actively. They are rapidly oxidized by peracids in aqueous solution at weakly alkaline pH. In acid solution the oxidation is much slower

Waste Disposal

Controlled incineration with adequate scrubbing and ash disposal facilities.



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