Butyric Acid

Butyric Acid - Fact Sheet


  • Butyric acid, also known as butanoic acid, is found naturally in small amounts in cheeses and butter. It is an oily, colourless liquid with an unpleasant odour like rancid butter.
  • The vapour can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat. If inhaled in high concentrations it can cause coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • The liquid can be irritating and cause mild to moderate burning sensation if spilled directly on the skin.
  • Butyric acid is not absorbed into the body to cause toxicity. Effects from butyric acid are a result of the irritant effects on skin, lung membranes or eyes.

Treatment for people exposed to butyric acid:

  • If inhaled, get out of the area into fresh air.
  • If spilled on skin or clothing, remove clothing and wash exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water. If irritation or pain persists, the person should be seen in a healthcare facility.
  • Clothing should be laundered before wearing. No special precautions need to be followed for laundry.
  • Anyone experiencing coughing or difficulty breathing, should be evaluated in a health care facility.

For information on toxicity or treatment, please contact:
BC Drug and Poison Information Centre
604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911