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Paraffin Toxicology


CAS number : 8002-74-2


French names :
Paraffine, cire de (fumées)
English names :
Paraffin wax, fume


Manufacture of cosmetics, as a sealing agent, in ceramics


I. Appearance :

Solid, colourless to white, odourless

II. Physical and Chemical Properties :

Odor : None
Physical state : Solid at 25 °C
Vapor pressure : < 0.01 at 25 °C
Vapor density (air =1) : > 5
Boiling point : > 300 °C
Solubility in water (20°C) : < 0.1%
Evaporation rate (Butyl Acetate =1) : < 0.01
Freezing point : Not applicable
Volatiles (By volume) : < 1.0%
Specific density (25°C) : 0.90-0.93
Melting point : 45-100 °C
III. Inflammability and Explosiveness :
A. Inflammability :
This product is flammable under the following conditions : it can ignite if it is strongly heated and in the presence of a source of ignition.
B. Data on fire hazards :
Flash point : 199,00 °C, closed cup
T° of auto-ignition : 245 °C.
C Sensitivity to shocks :
This product is not sensitive to shocks.
D. Techniques and means of extinction :
Means of extinction:
- carbon dioxide
- foam
- dry chemical powder
- sprayed water
- alcohol foam
E. Additional information :
Cool the containers exposed to fire with water.
F. Special techniques :
Wear an autonomous respiratory apparatus.
G. Products of dangerous decomposition :
Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other products such as aldehydes and ketones according to the oxidation state, aldehydes being able to be very irritating.


I. Storage :
Store in a cool place, away from any source of ignition, sheltered from oxidizing materials, acids and bases.

II. Exposure Control/Personal Protection :
This material will be used in the molten form. Protective clothing against splashes, thermal gloves, and ocular protection must be worn to prevent wounds.
Use the melted material in well ventilated sectors. While working in confined areas, use suitable respiratory protection.

III. Leaks :
Handle as a thermoplastic product. At the time of leaking of the melted material, allow the product to solidify and cool. Keep the material out of sewers and rivers by diking. Recover and place in suitable containers for re-use or disposal, according to local laws.

IV. Waste Disposal :
Consult local authorities.


I. Experimental Toxicology :
In the rat, chronic ingestion showed its accumulation in certain target organs, such as the liver and spleen, associated with nonspecific immune response.

II. Absorption :
This product is absorbed by the respiratory tract.

III. Acute Effects :

A. Inhalation :
If heated it emits paraffin wax fumes :
- possible irritation of the eyes and the respiratory tract, more particularly in sensitive
- nausea.
B. Skin :
Contact with molten wax can cause serious burns.
C. Eyes :
Direct ocular contact of the melted product with the eyes can cause thermal burns and ocular lesions. Fumes and vapors coming from the thermal decomposition of paraffin wax can cause irritation of the eyes.
D. Ingestion :
This product is primarily inert and non poisonous. However, one must handle it carefully, do not ingest or put some in your mouth.

IV. Chronic Effects :
Inhalation of aerosols (if heated) :
- cough
- sputum production
- exertional shortness of breath
- possibility of pulmonary damage (lipoidic pneumonia)
- alveolitis and interstitial fibrosis.

V. Pregnancy :

A. Effects on development :
No data concerning antenatal development was found in the consulted documentary sources.
B Effects on the reproduction :
No data concerning reproduction was found in the consulted documentary sources.
C Data on the mother's milk :
There is no data concerning excretion or detection in mother's milk.

VI. Carcinogenic Effects :
The available data do not make it possible to make an adequate evaluation of the carcinogenic effect.

VII. Mutagenic Effects :
No data concerning a mutagenic in vivo or in vitro effect on cells of mammals was found in the consulted documentary sources.


I. Inhalation :
In the event of inhalation of fumes or vapors, bring the person into a well ventilated place. If he does not breathe, give him artificial respiration. Call a doctor.

II. Eyes :
Exposure to fumes and vapors of overheated paraffin can cause irritation of the eyes. Direct contact with molten paraffin wax can cause ocular damage and burns. At the time of the handling of molten wax, one should carry ocular protection at any time. If an accident occurs, wash the eyes with plenty of water during at least 15 minutes, call a doctor to take care of the wound.

III. Skin :
Exposure to fumes and vapors coming from the thermal degradation of the product can cause irritation of the skin. Direct contact with the molten product can cause burns. In the case of burns, wash the affected area with large amounts of water for 15 minutes. Do not try to remove the material fixed on the skin. Call a doctor to take care himself of the wound.

IV. Ingestion :
Is not an acute poison by ingestion. In the event of ingestion, do not induce vomiting, call a doctor.


Valeur d'Exposition Moyenne Pondérée (VEMP) :
2 mg/m³ (Fumes)

References :
1. Chemical Hazards of the Workplace, Proctor & Hughes, 4th edition.
2. Clinical Environmental Health and Toxic Exposures, Sullivan & Krieger; second edition.
3. CSST-Québec, Répertoire Toxicologique.
4. Occupational Medicine, Zenz C., third edition.
5. Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, Lewis C., 10th edition.
6. The International Group, MSDS, Paraffin.
7. Toxicologie Industrielle et Intoxications Professionnelles, Lauwerys R.R., 4th edition.

By Edouard Bastarache

Related Information


Materials Paraffin Wax
Typecodes Article by Edouard Bastarache
Edouard Bastarache is a well known doctor that has written many articles on the subject of toxicity of ceramic materials and books on technical aspects of ceramics. He writes in both English and French.

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