As with many other products, the intermediates to make final silicones need to be handled correctly to ensure safety, for example, at work, in storage and in transportation. This is known as 'operating safety'.
Chlorosilanes are intermediates used to manufacture siloxanes and silanes – the building blocks for many silicone products. Chlorosilanes are therefore not found in final applications.
There are eight main chlorosilanes: dimethyldichlorosilane, methyltrichlorosilane, trimethylchlorosilane, methyldichlorosilane, vinyltrichlorosilane, phenyltrichlorosilane, trichlorosilane and silicon tetrachloride.
All of these are clear liquids that react readily with water to form corrosive and toxic hydrogen chloride gas and hydrochloric acid. All except silicon tetrachloride and phenyltrichlorosilane are also flammable.
"These substances therefore need to be handled with care by producers and customers. For this reason CES has developed a guide to the Safe Handling of Chlorosilanes."
It provides information on the hazards of chlorosilanes and suggestions for their safe handling and use. In addition, users of chlorosilanes should obtain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the relevant manufacturer.