Bromoethane Is Dangerous!

Bromoethane, also known as ethyl bromide, is a chemical compound of the haloalkanes group. It is abbreviated by chemists as EtBr. This volatile compound has an ether-like odour.

In organic synthesis, Bromoethane is the synthetic equivalent of the ethyl carbocation (Et+) synthon. In reality, such a cation is not actually formed. For example, carboxylates salts are converted to ethyl esters, carbanions to ethylated derivatives, thiourea into ethylisothiouronium salts, and amines into ethylamines.

The preparation of Bromoethane(CAS NO.: 74-96-4) stands as a model for the synthesis of alkyl bromides in general. It is usually prepared by the addition of HBr to ethene:
H2C=CH2 + HBr H3C-CH2Br

Bromoethane is inexpensive and would rarely be prepared in the laboratory. A laboratory synthesis include the reacting ethanol with a mixture of hydrobromic and sulfuric acids. An alternate route involves refluxing ethanol with phosphorus and bromine; phosphorus tribromide is generated in situ.

Bromoethane is Dangerous!

Bromoethane is an extremely flammable liquid. Water-reactive. Carcinogen. It causes respiratory tract irritation. Causes eye and skin irritation. Inhalation of a mist of this material may cause irritation of the lungs. May cause digestive tract irritation. May cause cancer in humans. May cause lung damage. May cause cardiac disturbances. May cause liver and kidney damage. Target Organs: Kidneys, heart, liver, lungs.

Potential Health Effects

Eye:it causes eye irritation.
Skin: Causes skin irritation. Exposure may cause irritation characterized by redness, dryness, and inflammation.
Ingestion: May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. May cause respiratory failure. May cause systemic toxic effects on the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Inhalation: Causes respiratory tract irritation. Irritation may lead to chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary edema. May cause effects similar to those described for ingestion. Causes narcotic effects including headache, dizziness, weakness, unconsciousness, and possible death.
Chronic: Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause irritation. Chronic inhalation and ingestion
may cause effects similar to those of acute inhalation and ingestion. May cause cancer in humans.

First Aid Measures

Eyes: Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical aid immediately.
Skin: Get medical aid. Immediately flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes.
Ingestion: If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical aid immediately.
Inhalation: Get medical aid immediately. Remove from exposure and move to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen.
Notes to Physician: Treat symptomatically and supportively.

Halocarbons in general are potentially dangerous alkylating agents. Bromides are better alkylating agents than chlorides, thus exposure to Bromoethane should be minimized. Bromoethane is classified by the State of California as carcinogenic and a reproductive toxin.