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Triethylamine  CAS#:

Hazardous Physical/
Chemical properties:

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Chemical name

Triethylamine 121-44-8


Diethyl amino ethane

Chemical Name:


Chemical Formula


Physical state and appearance:

Liquid. (Oily liquid.)


Ammoniacal. (Strong.)

Molecular Weight:

101.1 g/mole



pH (1% soln/water):

10 Basic.

Boiling Point:

89.7°C (193.5°F)

Melting Point:

-115°C (-175°F)

Specific Gravity:

0.73 (Water = 1)

Vapor Pressure:

54 mm of Hg (@ 20°C)

Vapor Density:

3.48 (Air = 1)




(TEA, Et3N) is an aliphatic amine. TRIETHYLAMINE is a clear colorless liquid
with a strong ammonia to fish-like odor. Flash point 20°F.  Triethylamine is prepared by the alkylation
of ammonia with ethanol.


NH3 + 3 C2H5OH
? N(C2H5)3 + 3 H2O


The pK of protonated triethylamine is 10.75,3 and
it can be used to prepare buffer solutions for that pH. The hydrochloride salt,
triethylamine hydrochloride (triethylammonium chloride), is a colorless,
odorless, and hygroscopic powder, which decomposes when heated to 261 °C. 


Triethylamine is commonly employed in organic
synthesis as a base, most often in the preparation of esters and amides from
acyl chlorides. Such reactions lead to the production of hydrogen chloride
which combines with triethylamine to form the salt triethylamine hydrochloride,
commonly called triethylammonium chloride. Its also used in the production of
quaternary ammonium compounds for textile auxiliaries and quaternary ammonium
salts of dyes. It is also a catalyst and acid neutralizer for condensation
reactions and is useful as an intermediate for manufacturing medicines,
pesticides and other chemicals. It finds various use/application in.,


Food additive



Chemicals and



plastics, coatings and resins


Rubber industry


Key Applications: Triethylamine is the active ingredient in FlyNap, a product
for anesthetizing Drosophila melanogaster. It’s used in mosquito and vector
control labs to anesthetize mosquitoes. This is done to preserve any viral
material that might be present during species identification. The bicarbonate
salt of triethylamine (often abbreviated TEAB, triethylammonium bicarbonate) is
useful in reverse phase chromatography, often in a gradient to purify
nucleotides and other biomolecules. EPA’s Integrated Risk Information
System (IRIS)contains information on inhalation chronic toxicity of
triethylamine. Acute (short-term) exposure of humans to triethylamine vapor
causes eye irritation, corneal swelling, and halo vision.  People have
complained of seeing “blue haze” or having “smoky
vision.”  These effects have been reversible upon cessation of
exposure.  Acute exposure can irritate the skin and mucous membranes in
humans.  Chronic (long-term) exposure of workers to triethylamine vapor
has been observed to cause reversible corneal edema.  Chronic inhalation
exposure has resulted in respiratory and hematological effects and eye lesions
in rats and rabbits.  No information is available on the reproductive,
developmental, or carcinogenic effects of triethylamine in humans.  EPA
has not classified triethylamine with respect to potential carcinogenicity.


Routes of


can enter your body when you breathe in air, drink water or eat food that
contains this chemical.




When Triethylamine is in the state of vapor, Vapors
irritate the eyes and mucous membranes. Less dense (6.1 lb / gal) than water.
Vapors heavier than air. Produces toxic oxides of nitrogen when burned.


Acute (short-term) exposure of humans to
triethylamine vapor causes eye irritation, corneal swelling, and halo vision.
People have complained of seeing “blue haze” or having “smoky
vision.” These effects have been reversible upon cessation of exposure.
Acute exposure can irritate the skin and mucous membranes in humans.


Chronic (long-term) exposure of workers to
triethylamine vapor has been observed to cause reversible corneal edema.
Chronic inhalation exposure has resulted in respiratory and hematological
effects and eye lesions in rats and rabbits. No information is available on the
reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects of triethylamine in
humans. EPA has not classified triethylamine with respect to potential




In the liquid state, Triethylamine is easily
absorbed through the skin, and may cause skin allergy. It can cause itching and
a skin rash. When absorbed through the skin, most of Triethylamine will be
terminated in urine. May cause severe irritation or burns.


Workers handling Triethylamine in a
foundry reported skin problems in the form of defatting of the hands, skin
lesions and dried and chapped hands (NIOSH 1978).


Of 33 foundry workers tested using a patch test, only one healthy person
produced a reaction to an aqueous triethylamine solution and simultaneously to
two organic resins in acetone and to acetone itself. The authors regard this
positive result as the effect of irritation





Common phenomena for triethylamine Ingestion is from food contamination,
broiled beef has been identified as one of major source for such
contamination.  It’s toxic and may cause
severe gastrointestinal tract irritation with burning nausea, vomiting, possible
burns. Corrosive
chemicals will destroy the membranes of the mouth, throat, and esophagus and,
in addition, have a high risk of being aspirated into the victim’s lungs during
vomiting which increases the medical problems. If the victim is conscious and
not convulsing, give 1 or 2 glasses of water to dilute the chemical and
IMMEDIATELY call a hospital or poison control center. IMMEDIATELY transport the
victim to a hospital. If the victim is convulsing or unconscious, do not give
anything by mouth, ensure that the victim’s airway is open and lay the victim
on his/her side with the head lower than the body. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.
Transport the victim IMMEDIATELY to a hospital. (NTP, 1992)



Effects on
the body:


According to the OHSA, the legal airborne permissible exposure limit (PEL) is

25 ppm averaged over an 8-hour work shift
The above exposure limits are for air levels only. When skin contact also
occurs, you may be overexposed, even though air levels are less than the limits
listed above.  For frequent or
potentially high exposure (half the TLV or

greater), the following are recommended before beginning work and at
regular times after that:

Lung function tests: If symptoms develop or overexposure is suspected
then they can further do the following health investigation as well.

Liver and kidney function tests

Evaluation by a qualified allergist can help diagnose skin allergy.


These evaluations should include a history of past and present symptoms
with an exam. Medical tests that look for damage already done are not a
substitute for controlling exposure. The affected employee has the legal right
to get the examination results under OSHA Access to Employee Exposure and
Medical Records Standard (29 CFR 1910.1020).



Sources of


of triethylamine include emissions and effluents where it is produced and used
as a catalytic solvent in chemical synthesis, accelerator activator for rubber,
corrosion inhibitor, curing and hardening agent for polymers, propellant, in
the manufacture of quaternary ammonium compounds, in the desalination of
seawater, and in sewage treatment plants (Merck, 1989). The primary stationary
sources that have reported emissions of triethylamine in California are
manufacturers of textile mill products, manufacturers of fabricated metal
products, and manufacturers of household appliances (ARB, 1997b). It’s also
found naturally in some food and as a metabolic product (Howard, 1990).

AMBIENT CONCENTRATIONS : No Air Resources Board data
exist for ambient measurements of triethylamine. However, the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has reported ambient air
concentrations of triethylamine as high as 4.2 micrograms per cubic meter or 1
part per billion from an unspecified location in the Northeast United States
during 1983 (U.S. EPA, 1993a).

exists in the atmosphere in the gas phase. The dominant tropospheric loss
process for triethylamine is by reaction with the hydroxyl (OH) radical,
although reaction with gaseous nitric acid may be important in polluted urban
areas (to form the nitrate salt). Using the measured rate constant for the
reaction of trimethylamine (Atkinson, 1994), the calculated half-life and
lifetime of triethylamine due to reaction with the OH radical is estimated to
be 4 hours and 6 hours, respectively (Atkinson, 1995).



In order to prevent the exposure of Triethylamine into
contacting with human, employers should follow and provide the proper
procedures at workplace. Beside of encouraging employees using Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE), the proper process disclosure must be clarified and
understood, as well as installing general dilution ventilation and local
exhaust ventilation. (ATSDR, 1995). To measure the exposure time of employees
who are contact with Triethylamine, the eight-hour exposure is based on a single eight-hour
sample or two four-hour samples. Also, air sample should be taken at the
employees’ breathing zone to determine level of Triethylamine that employees
inhale. (U.S Department of Health and Human
Services, and U.S Department of Labor (1987)


In an event of emergency, first aid procedure must be instituted and sent to
medical assistance immediately.

Eye exposure

Immediately flush with large amounts of water
for at least 15 minutes, lifting upper and lower lids.

Remove contact lenses, if worn, while flushing
and seek medical attention.


Skin exposure

Quickly remove contaminated clothing.
Immediately wash contaminated skin with large amounts of soap and water.

If irritation persists after washing the skin,
should get the medical attention immediately.


Remove the person from exposure.

Begin rescue breathing (using universal
precautions) if breathing has stopped and CPR if heart action has stopped.

Transfer promptly to a medical facility. Keep
in medical observation is recommended for 24 to 48 hours after overexposure, as
pulmonary edema may be delayed.



If swallowed, do NOT induce vomiting. Rinse

If the affected person has become unconscious
upon swallowing, then call for immediate medical attention.


In an event of spill or leak (in small
quantities), the following steps should be taken:

Employees not wearing proper protective
equipment or clothing should be restricted from areas of spills or leaks until
the area has been completely cleaned. 

Removing all ignition sources in order to
prevent further explosion potential nearby the spills or leaks area.

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment

Ventilate an area of spill or leak in order to
prevent further inhalation issue.

Absorb with spill pillow or other absorbent and place in closed
container for later disposal.

In Canada., this product has been classified according to the hazard
criteria of the Controlled Product Registration (CPR) and this SDS contains all
the information required by the CPR.


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