ethylbenzene : ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH & SAFETY Guidelines
logo : SPA Styrene Producers Association

1. Introduction and Purpose

The purpose of this brochure is to review environmental, health and safety aspects for ethylbenzene, i.e. how to handle the material according to current industry standards and guidelines. The Styrene Producers Association (SPA), a sector group of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), encourages customers and potential users of ethylbenzene and styrene (refer to SPA’s “Styrene Monomer: Environmental, Health & Safety Guidelines”) to review their applications from the standpoint of human health and environmental quality. To help ensure that the product is not used in ways which are not intended or tested, producers will assist customers in dealing with ecological and product safety considerations. The supplier’s Safety Data Sheet for ethylbenzene should be consulted prior to its use. The Responsible CareŽ commitment of the chemical industry represents efforts to assist customers in developing sound product stewardship practices in order to better safeguard workers and operations, and to protect the environment.

Ethylbenzene (CAS RN: 100-41-4; EC No.: 202-849-4; Annex I Index No.: 601-023-00-4) was first produced on a commercial scale in the 1930s by BASF (Badische Anilin und Sodafabrik) in Germany and by The Dow Chemical Company in the United States. The styrene industry, which uses ethylbenzene as a starting raw material, remained relatively insignificant until World War II. The tremendous demand for synthetic styrene – butadiene rubber (SBR) during the war prompted accelerated technology improvements and capacity expansion. This effort led to the construction of several large-scale factories, and styrene production became a significant industry. In 2002, world annual production capacity of ethylbenzene reached almost 28,000 kilotons (Kt), of which Western Europe and the United States each account for 23 %. Throughout the 1990’s, most of the production capacity increase occurred in the Far Eastern countries other than Japan, where the basic petrochemical industries have undergone considerable development and expansion. In 2002 the ethylbenzene production capacity in Northeast Asia, particularly in Korea, reached 8,314 Kt, about 30 % of the world production capacity, while the Middle East accounted for 5 % (1,310 Kt) and Southeast Asia for 7 % (1,960 Kt) of the world annual production capacity (data calculated from Reference 1, see Bibliography).

Responsible CareŽ is a registered Trade Mark of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic).


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