What Is Hexane?

What Is Hexane?

Hexane is one of the most discussed chemicals. For the average consumer, concerns about the safety of the substance dominate the conversation. However, many industrial leaders praise its utility while offering caution and proper training to its handlers.

In this blog post, we will address these topics and explain the importance of recognizing both the hazards and benefits of working with chemicals.

Definition and Uses of Hexane

Hexane is produced via extraction from crude oil and petroleum. As a result, the chemical smells similar to gasoline. It is known for being incredibly toxic and flammable when proper precautions are not taken.

Common uses include:

  • Mixed with other solvents for edible oil extraction
  • Additive in gasoline
  • Ingredient in adhesives, arts and crafts paints, and paint thinners
  • Cleaning agent in printing, automotive, and textile industries

Safety and Hexane

When handled without proper PPE (personal protective equipment), hexane is a highly toxic chemical. Prolonged unprotected exposure can cause serious damage to the nervous system. Because of this, the US government frequently faces criticism for allowing consumer products to contain the chemical.

However, hexane is an invaluable substance in the extraction of edible oils such as seed and vegetable oils. While in many cases it isn’t reasonable to discontinue its, it’s still possible to safely handle the chemical.

Here are a few safety tips:

  • Use breathing protection, proper gloves, and safety-goggles
  • Store in a well-ventilated area separated from oxidants
  • Keep in fire-proof containers

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