Ethyl Acetate

What is Ethyl Acetate?

Ethyl Acetate (chemical formula: C4H8O2), is a clear/colourless and highly flammable liquid. It has a fruity odour and floats on water. 

What is Ethyl Acetate used for?

Ethyl acetate has a wide range of applications in various industries, including:

  • A Solvent for:
    • Paints, varnishes and lacquers
    • Perfumes and fragrances
    • Tablet and capsule manufacturing 
    • Extracting natural products, such as tea, coffee and spices
  • Flavouring for food and drinks, including ice cream and candy.
  • Chemical intermediate in the production of chemicals such as acetic anhydride, butyle acetate and ethyl chloride.
Ethyl acetate is used in the decaffeination process of coffee—the solvent binds to the caffeine so it can be isolated and removed. 

Ethyl Acetate Hazards

The routes of exposure for ethyl acetate include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact.

Inhalation of ethyl acetate can cause respiratory irritation and lung damage. Other symptoms can include headache, eye/nose/throat irritation, drowsiness, dizziness, sleepiness, reduced alertness, coma, loss of reflexes, lack of coordination, vertigo and changes in behaviour. The hazard of inhalation can become more likely at higher temperatures   

Ingestion can cause impaired coordination, exhilaration, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, coma and possibly death from lack of blood circulation or failure to breathe. Ingestion can also cause the liquid to aspirate in the lungs, leading to chemical pneumonitis. 

Skin contact may cause non-allergic contact dermatitis, as well as cracking, flaking and drying of the skin. Damage to health can also occur through absorption through open cuts and wounds.

Ethyl acetate can cause eye irritation, damage, discomfort, pain and severe conjunctivitis. Cornea damage can also happen with the possibility of permanent vision loss if not treated quickly and properly. 

Ethyl Acetate Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source and keep them warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing, perform CPR (if you are qualified to do so). Seek medical attention immediately. 

If ethyl acetate is swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting does occur though, ensure the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side to maintain open airways and prevent aspiration. Do not give liquid to the patient if they are showing signs of sleepiness. Seek medical attention.

In the event of skin exposure, remove all contaminated clothing, footwear and accessories and cleanse the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation.  

If eye exposure occurs, flush the eye with running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should be left to skilled personnel. Seek medical attention immediately.  

Ethyl Acetate Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains and safety showers should be accessible near areas of potential exposure and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants to prevent overexposure (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling ethyl acetate includes safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, filter dust respirators, PVC/rubber gloves and PVC aprons/protective suits. 

Always refer to your SDS before handling ethyl acetate to prevent any hazardous situations from occurring. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at for more information about our chemicals management solutions. 

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