Volatile Solvent Spill Response

SKU: C-935Duration: 18 Minutes

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Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 18 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English

Spills involving volatile solvents are a unique class of spills. This is due to the fact that in addition to any damage and pollution directly caused by the spilled liquid, evaporation of a volatile solvent will contaminate the air in the vicinity with the gaseous form of the liquid. Because the vapors from most volatile solvents are flammable and toxic to some degree, the response to this type of spill must take the presence of the vapor into consideration.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Define the meaning of "volatility"
  • Describe the significant difference between a volatile solvent spill and a normal spill
  • Describe how to deal with the vapor of a solvent spill
  • Describe how to deal with the liquid portion of a solvent spill
  • Describe how to deal with a large scale volatile liquid spill

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is volatility?
Volatility is the measure of how easily a liquid will evaporate and turn into a gas or vapor.

What are two important precautions which should be taken in response to an indoor volatile solvent spill?
In response to a volatile solvent spill all sources of ignition should be removed and any outside windows should be opened to disperse and dilute the vapor.

What is the best way to respond to a small solvent spill?
The best way to respond to a small solvent spill is to absorb it with static reducing pads or with granular absorbents designed for solvents. Avoid the use of paper toweling.

What is the best way to be prepared for a solvent spill?
Containing and cleaning up a volatile solvent spill in a timely manner is vital to minimizing vapor generation, so have a prepared or purchased spill response kit available wherever there is the chance of a spill.

What is best way to deal with a large scale volatile liquid spill?
Large scale spills require expertise and equipment to be properly handled. Report large spills to professional responders and evacuate the area of the spill.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

A "volatile solvent" is a liquid in which the molecules in the liquid easily move into the air at room temperature. Stated another way, the liquid evaporates quickly. For example, a tablespoon of water dropped on cold concrete will create a dark spot which will last for several minutes before drying, or evaporating away. The same amount of gasoline will create a spot which starts to shrink almost immediately and then evaporates and disappears in less than a minute. Gasoline is therefore a more volatile liquid than water. Other examples of volatile solvents include paint thinner, acetone, toluene, turpentine, and ethanol.

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • University of Iowa Environmental Health and Safety – https://ehs.research.uiowa.edu
  • UIOWA Spill Response Guide - https://ehs.research.uiowa.edu/spill-response-guide-flammable-or-combustible-liquids
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) – ww.acs.org
  • ACS Publications - https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/about/governance/committees/chemicalsafety/publications/guide-for-chemical-spill-response.html

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