What is Tetrahydrofuran?
Tetrahydrofuran (THF) is a flammable, colorless, organic liquid with an ether-like odor with a low viscosity. The highly flammable chemical is used as a monomer for natural and synthetic resins as well as a solvent, in manufacturing processes, for a wide variety of different industrial and consumer products.
Tetrahydrofuran is used as a solvent for many different applications including adhesives, PVC cements, vinyl films, pharmaceuticals, resins, coatings, and printing inks.
Tetrahydrofuran Chemical Storage as a Solvent:
- Adhesives: Used as an industrial solvent to join materials including plastics and compounded cements. THF provides a low viscosity rate and a quick solvent reaction for resin solutions.
- PVC Cements: THF can be combined with other solvents and inorganic fillers to control set time for PVC cements. Also used as a PVC cleaner.
- Vinyl Films: THF is used as a solvent for decreased viscosity build up when working with resins for vinyl films and coated cellophane formation.
- Pharmaceuticals: Highly used in the pharmaceutical industry because of the chemical’s solvency for polar and non-polar compounds. THF has a high reaction rate and a high purity rate which eliminates residues to the final product.
Tetrahydrofuran chemical storage is on the Hazardous Substance List and the Special Health Hazard Substance List. THF is a carcinogen and it is regulated by OSHA and cited by DOT, NIOSH, EPA, NFPA and ACGIH.
NFPA 704 Classifications
- Hazard Value Description
- Health 2 Moderately toxic or hazardous. May result in incapacitation or residual injury.
- Flammability 3 Very flammable, can be ignited under almost all ambient temperatures.
- Instability 1 Can cause significant irritation.
WReacts violently with water.
DOT Hazard Class
Primary hazard class: 3
Secondary hazard class: 8
Health Hazard Information:
Handle tetrahydrofuran chemical storage with extreme caution. Contact with THF can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Increased exposure to THF can cause unconsciousness and death. Exposure to the flammable liquid can cause great damage to the liver and kidneys. Chronic health effects include cancer, reproductive risks, rashes and respiratory irritation.
Tetrahydrofuran Chemical Storage – Storage & Handling
Tetrahydrofuran inventory must be stored in a completely sealed, cool, well-ventilated storage building. THF must be stored separate from oxidizing agents, lithium, aluminum, strong acids, and strong bases. Avoid storing tetrahydrofuran chemical storage near ignition sources including heat, and direct sunlight. Utilize explosion proof safety accessories including explosion proof relief panels, lighting, outlets, mechanical ventilation, cooling systems and electrical fixtures.
Containers being used to transfer the flammable chemical should be grounded and bonded to avoid hazardous situations. When opening or closing containers use non-sparking hardware.
When handling THF, solvent resistant protective gear should be worn at all times; including gloves, suits, footwear and protective headgear. Use indirect-vent, splash resistant goggles along with a face shield when working with THF.
Utilize an approved face piece respirator with an organic vapor cartridge when working with toxic chemicals such as THF. It is necessary to use an approved respirator to avoid any type of respiratory damage. Other respirators or contained breathing devices may be used depending on the chemical environment.