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animal feed supplement (Etzkorn et al. 1991). Acrolein also exhibits antimicrobial activity and is used as a biocide in a number of process streams, including liquid fuel lines and recirculating process water systems.

Acrolein has been measured in ambient and indoor air (IARC 1995). Ambient air measurements in the United States have detected acrolein at concentrations ranging from 2 parts per billion (ppb) to 7 ppb. Acrolein is a component of tobacco smoke (IARC 1995; EPA 2003). Jones (1999) reported that the acrolein emission factor for mainstream smoke ranges from 10 to 140 micrograms (g) per cigarette, and the emission factor for sidestream smoke ranges from 100 to 1,700 g per cigarette. In smoky indoor environments, acrolein concentrations have been reported to range from 1 to 120 ppb (IARC 1995). Acrolein has also been detected in exhaust from gasoline and diesel engines and from the heating of animal fats and vegetable oils, and it is present in a variety of foods (IARC 1995).

Sources of acrolein on submarines include high-temperature paints, motor varnishes, diesel generators, and cigarette smoke (Crawl 2003). ATSDR (1990) noted that acrolein concentrations at 57-85 ppb were measured during system testing conducted on a submarine being overhauled. No other details were provided. Raymer et al. (1994) reported the

TABLE 2-1 Physical and Chemical Properties of Acroleina

Synonyms and trade names

Acraldehyde, acrylaldehyde, acrylic aldehyde, allyl aldehyde, crolean, propenal, 2-propenal, prop-2-en-1-al, 2-propen-1-one

CAS registry number


Molecular formula


Molecular weight


Boiling point


Melting point


Flash point

−18°C (open cup)

Explosive limits

2.8% to 31% (by volume in air)

Specific gravity

0.8389 at 20°C/4°C

Vapor pressure

210 mmHg at 20°C


Soluble in alcohol, ether, and 2 to 3 parts water

Conversion factors

1 ppm = 2.29 mg/m3; 1 mg/m3 = 0.44 ppm

aData on explosive limits are from ACGIH (2001); all other data are from Budavari et al. (1989).

Abbreviations: mg/m3, milligrams per cubic meter; mmHg, millimeters of mercury; ppm, parts per million.

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