Isopropyl alcohol also known as isopropanol is a chemical compound without colour, it is flammable with a very strong odour. It is often found in sanitisers and some cleaning agents. When dealing with isopropyl alcohol, care needs to be taken to avoid damage to health and the environment.
Isopropanol should be kept out of the reach of children as they can mistakenly ingest it thereby leading to poisoning. Some people drink isopropanol just to get drunk as it is capable of intoxicating, while some deliberately consume the substance to commit suicide.
Heating isopropyl is not recommended except using scientific equipment made for that particular purpose.
Isopropyl alcohol poisoning leads to several body disorders such as reduced breathing, stomach pain, vomiting, throat pain etc. In serious cases, it can cause coma.
Major Uses Of Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol has various uses including domestic, industrial and household uses. Some of the uses are listed below.
1. It is used to clean and disinfect surfaces. It acts as a germicide meaning it has the capability to kill and destroy a lot of germs.
2. Used as a hand sanitiser.
3. It is used in the production of after-shave lotions and cosmetics.
4. Used for wound treatments in homes
5. Used in the process of paint production
6. It is used to remove residues of glue
7. It can be used as a preservative for biological specimens as it can serve as a replacement for formaldehyde.
8. It acts as a solvent for dissolving oils
9. Isopropyl alcohol is used in the production of fuel additives.
10. In medical laboratories, isopropyl is used in the extraction of DNA.
Raw isopropanol is a very toxic and harmful substance on humans and animals as it is known to pierce the skin. Care needs to be taken when handling this compound as it is highly flammable.
Protective coverings should be worn at all times when handling isopropanol. Protective coverings like safety goggles and safety gloves must always be worn to avoid stories that touch. Even though isopropyl alcohol used for domestic purposes is diluted and not as concentrated as the isopropanol used in labs, excess caution still needs to be taken when dealing with the compound.
In the case of any sudden exposure to this compound, the following steps can be taken to reduce damage to health.
- In case of contact with skin, the affected clothes should be removed, and the skin should be washed thoroughly with water and soap. If there’s any irritation on the skin, medical help should be sought immediately.
- In an unfortunate incidence of eye contact, if the individual is wearing a contact lens, it should be removed immediately and the eyes should be rinsed with plenty of water or normal saline.
- Where there is a case of inhalation, the individual affected should be brought to the open where he/she can receive enough fresh air. In the case of breathing difficulties, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- If there is ingestion, the victim should be given a lot of water to drink to dilute the substance. Do not try to induce vomiting as there is a possibility of the chemical being felt in the lungs.
Proper storage and disposal method of isopropanol
1. Storage of this compound should be in a closely tight container and it should be in a well-ventilated room.
2. The isopropyl alcohol substance should be kept away from possible sources of sparks to prevent fire accident.
3. Local laws guiding storage and disposal must also be complied with to create a safe and enabling environment for everyone.
Is it safe to heat isopropyl alcohol?
Although it is possible to heat the substance in a microwave, if you’re very careful, and fortunate, there would not be an ignition followed by an explosion, and the isopropyl substance will not burn down the house. But when it comes to issues of an explosion, it is best not to depend on just luck as you might run out of luck.
It is not advisable to heat or microwave isopropyl alcohol because it is very flammable which means it can cause a spark in the presence of heat leading to fire accidents which can damage lives and properties.
The ovens of the microwave cause a rebound until the food absorbs it. If all the alcohol is boiled off, and the oven is left empty, the microwaves must surely be sucked up by something and it will surely involve the oven. Operating a microwave oven while it is vacant can shorten its life span or even lead to malfunctioning or total spoilage. I’m sure you don’t want that.
Again, because isopropyl alcohol has a low vapourisation point, immediately it is removed from the heat source, it cools off quickly and remains a fire threat as it does so.