Why is ethylene oxide dangerous?
Ethylene oxide is a small cyclic ether that is widely used as a disinfectant.
Any compressed gas poses a safety hazard. It turns out that ethylene oxide is pretty nasty stuff. While ethylene oxide has a fairly high boiling point of
As you probably know, ethylene oxide is the best way to add a 2 carbon chain in organic synthesis. Grignard and lithium reagents add to the ring to produce (after ring opening and work-up) a primary alcohol that has been lengthened by 2 carbons:
It has been a long time since I have used it, but I remember that it had the vague smell of sweet sherry (i.e. much nicer than the pungent, penetrating smell of ammonia).