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This guideline summarizes pertinent information about vinyl toluene for workers and employers as well as for physicians, industrial hygienists, and other occupational safety and health professionals who may need such information to conduct effective occupational safety and health programs. Recommendations may be superseded by new developments in these fields; readers are therefore advised to regard these recommendations as general guidelines and to determine periodically whether new information is available.
(For Structure, see paper copy)* Synonyms
Methylstyrene; ethenylmethylbenzene; methylvinylbenzene; methylethynylbenzene; ar-methyl styrene; tolylethylene; meta- and para-vinyl toluene (mixed isomers)* Identifiers
1. CAS 25013-15-4* Appearance and odor
Vinyl toluene is a combustible, colorless liquid with a strong, disagreeable odor. The commercial product is a mixture composed primarily of the meta- and para-isomers and, rarely, the ortho-isomer.CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
* Physical data
1. Molecular weight: 118.* Reactivity
1. Conditions contributing to instability: Vinyl toluene is stabilized by a polymerization inhibitor (10 to 50 ppm of tert-butyl catechol). If this inhibitor is not present in adequate concentrations, vinyl toluene can polymerize and explode in its container. Polymerization can also occur if vinyl toluene contacts catalysts such as peroxides, strong acids, aluminum chloride, ferric chloride, or other ionic materials.* Flammability
The National Fire Protection Association has assigned a flammability rating of 2 (moderate fire hazard) to vinyl toluene.* Warning properties
For persons whose olfactory sense has not been fatigued, the odor threshold for vinyl toluene is between 10 and 60 parts per million (ppm) parts of air. Because these values are below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 100 ppm [29 CFR 1910.1000, Table Z-1-A], vinyl toluene is considered to have adequate warning properties for the purpose of respirator selection.* Eye irritation properties
The eye irritation threshold for vinyl toluene is approximately 400 ppm.EXPOSURE LIMITS
The current OSHA PEL for vinyl toluene is 100 ppm (480 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m(3)) of air) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration [29 CFR 1910.1000, Table Z-1-A]. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has not issued a recommended exposure limit (REL) for vinyl toluene; however, NIOSH concurs with the PEL established for this substance by OSHA [NIOSH 1988]. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has assigned vinyl toluene a threshold limit value (TLV) of 50 ppm (240 mg/m(3)) as a TWA for a normal 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek and a short-term exposure limit (STEL) of 100 ppm (485 mg/m(3)) for periods not to exceed 15 minutes. Exposures at the STEL concentration should not be repeated more than four times a day and should be separated by intervals of at least 60 minutes [ACGIH 1988, p. 38]. The OSHA and ACGIH limits are based on the risk of irritation and odorant effects associated with exposure to vinyl toluene.
HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
* Routes of Exposure
Exposure to vinyl toluene can occur via inhalation and eye or skin contact.* Summary of toxicology
1. Effects on Animals: Vinyl toluene is an eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritant and a central nervous system depressant in laboratory animals. Data also suggest that vinyl toluene has fetotoxic and teratogenic potential. The oral LD(50) for rats is 4.0 g/kg; for mice, it is 3.16 g/kg [RTECS 1989]. The LC(50) for mice is 3020 mg/kg for an unspecified period of time [RTECS 1989]. Eye contact with pure vinyl toluene causes conjunctival irritation without corneal injury in rabbits [Grant 1986, p. 978; RTECS 1989]. A single application of vinyl toluene to the skin caused redness, edema, and superficial skin necrosis in rabbits [Proctor, Hughes, and Fischman 1988, p. 509]. Mice exposed to a 6200-ppm concentration of vinyl toluene for 1 month showed central nervous system effects, skin and mucous membrane irritation, and weight loss [Clayton and Clayton 1981, p. 3320; HSDB 1986]. Rats tolerated exposure to 300 ppm for 60 hours without symptoms; however, vinyl toluene was found at autopsy to have accumulated in the peritoneal fat of these animals, and neurochemical effects were detected by enzyme assay [Proctor, Hughes, and Fischman 1988, p. 509]. Rats exposed 92 or 100 times to between 1130 and 1250 ppm for 7 to 8 hours/day showed an increase in kidney and liver weights and fatty degeneration of the liver at autopsy; some deaths occurred among rats exposed on this regimen, but guinea pigs, rabbits, and monkeys survived. No adverse effects were seen in animals of any species when the vinyl toluene concentration was reduced to 600 ppm [Clayton and Clayton 1981, p. 3319]. Teratogenic effects were observed among the offspring of guinea pigs exposed by inhalation to 6 ppm vinyl toluene for 4 months [Clayton and Clayton 1981, p. 3320]. Intraperitoneal doses of 3750 mg/kg administered to rats on days 1 through 15 of pregnancy induced post-implantation mortality and fetotoxic effects [RTECS 1989].* Signs and symptoms of exposure
1. Acute exposure: The signs and symptoms of acute exposure to vinyl toluene include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; irritation and redness of the skin may occur on repeated contact and, at high concentrations, vinyl toluene may cause drowsiness.* Emergency procedures:
In the event of an emergency, remove the victim from further exposure, send for medical assistance, and initiate the following emergency procedures:EXPOSURE SOURCES AND CONTROL METHODS
The following operations may involve vinyl toluene and lead to worker exposures to this substance:
1. ACGIH . Industrial ventilation--a manual of recommended practice. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
2. Burton DJ . Industrial ventilation--a self study companion. Cincinnati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
3. Alden JL, Kane JM . Design of industrial ventilation systems. New York, NY: Industrial Press, Inc.
4. Wadden RA, Scheff PA . Engineering design for control of workplace hazards. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
5. Plog BA . Fundamentals of industrial hygiene. Chicago, IL: National Safety Council.
Workers who may be exposed to chemical hazards should be monitored in a systematic program of medical surveillance that is intended to prevent occupational injury and disease. The program should include education of employers and workers about work-related hazards, placement of workers in jobs that do not jeopardize their safety or health, early detection of adverse health effects, and referral of workers for diagnosis and treatment. The occurrence of disease or other work- related adverse health effects should prompt immediate evaluation of primary preventive measures (e.g., industrial hygiene monitoring, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment). A medical monitoring program is intended to supplement, not replace, such measures. To place workers effectively and to detect and control work-related health effects, medical evaluations should be performed (1) before job placement, (2) periodi-cally during the period of employment, and (3) at the time of job transfer or termination.
* Preplacement medical evaluation
Before a worker is placed in a job with a potential for exposure to vinyl toluene, the examining physician should evaluate and document the worker's baseline health status with thorough medical, environmental, and occupational histories, a physical examination, and physiologic and laboratory tests appropriate for the anticipated occupational risks. These should concentrate on the function and integrity of the skin and respiratory system. Medical monitoring for respiratory disease should be conducted using the principles and methods recommended by NIOSH and the American Thoracic Society.* Periodic medical examinations and biological monitoring
Occupational health interviews and physical examinations should be performed at regular intervals during the employment period, as mandated by any applicable Federal, State, or local standard. Where no standard exists and the hazard is minimal, evaluations should be conducted every 3 to 5 years or as frequently as recommended by an experienced occupational health physician. Additional examinations may be necessary if a worker develops symptoms attributable to vinyl toluene exposure. The interviews, examinations, and medical screening tests should focus on identifying the adverse effects of vinyl toluene on the respiratory system and skin. Current health status should be compared with the baseline health status of the individual worker or with expected values for a suitable reference population.* Medical examinations recommended at the time of job transfer or termination
The medical, environmental, and occupational history interviews, the physical examination, and selected physiologic or laboratory tests that were conducted at the time of placement should be repeated at the time of job transfer or termination to determine the worker's medical status at the end of his or her employment. Any changes in the worker's health status should be compared with those expected for a suitable reference population.WORKPLACE MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT PROCEDURES
Determination of a worker's exposure to airborne vinyl toluene is made using a charcoal tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh). Samples are collected at a maximum flow rate of 0.2 liter per minute until a maximum air volume of 24 liters is collected. The sample is then treated with carbon disulfide to extract the vinyl toluene. Analysis is conducted by gas chromatography using a flame ionization detector. The limit of detection for this procedure is 0.01 mg/sample. This method is described in Method 1501 of the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods, 3rd edition, Volume 2 [NIOSH 1984].
PERSONAL HYGIENE PROCEDURES
If vinyl toluene contacts the skin, workers should immediately wash the affected areas with soap and water.
Clothing contaminated with vinyl toluene should be removed immediately, and provisions should be made for the safe removal of the chemical from the clothing. Persons laundering the clothes should be informed of the hazardous properties of vinyl toluene, particularly its potential to cause irritation.
A worker who handles vinyl toluene should thoroughly wash hands, forearms, and face with soap and water before eating, using tobacco products, or using toilet facilities.
Workers should not eat, drink, or use tobacco products in areas where vinyl toluene or a solution containing vinyl toluene is handled, processed, or stored.
Vinyl toluene should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area in tightly sealed containers that are labeled in accordance with OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200]. Outside or detached storage is preferred; inside storage should be in a standard flammable liquids storage room or cabinet. Containers of vinyl toluene should be protected from physical damage and should be stored separately from strong oxidizing agents, metal salts, alkalies, mineral acids, heat, sparks, and open flame. Dangerous polymerization can occur if vinyl toluene contacts catalysts such as peroxides, strong acids, aluminum chloride, ferric chloride, or other ionic materials. Only nonsparking tools may be used to handle vinyl toluene. To prevent static sparks, containers should be grounded and bonded for transfers. Because containers that formerly contained vinyl toluene may hold product residues, they should be handled as if they still present reactivity or flammability hazards.
SPILLS AND LEAKS
In the event of a spill or leak involving vinyl toluene, persons not wearing protective equipment and clothing should be restricted from contaminated areas until cleanup has been completed. The following steps should be undertaken following a spill or leak:
1. Do not touch the spilled material.
2. Notify safety personnel.
3. Remove all sources of heat and ignition.
4. Ventilate potentially explosive atmospheres.
5. Use nonsparking tools to place waste liquid or absorbent into closable containers for disposal.
6. For small liquid spills, take up with sand or other noncombustible absorbent material and place into containers for later disposal.
7. For large liquid spills, build dikes far ahead of the spill to contain the vinyl toluene for later reclamation or disposal.
EMERGENCY PLANNING, COMMUNITY RIGHT-TO-KNOW, AND HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) regulatory requirements for emergency planning, community right-to-know, and hazardous waste management may vary over time. Users are therefore advised to determine periodically whether new information is available.
* Emergency planning requirements
Vinyl toluene is not subject to EPA emergency planning requirements under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (Title III).* Reportable quantity requirements (releases of hazardous substances)
Employers are not required by the emergency release notification provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) [40 CFR Part 355.40] to notify the National Response Center of an accidental release of vinyl toluene; there is no reportable quantity for this substance.* Community right-to-know requirements
Employers are not required by Section 313 of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) to submit a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory form (Form R) to EPA reporting the amount of vinyl toluene emitted or released from their facility annually.* Hazardous waste management requirements
EPA considers a waste to be hazardous if it exhibits any of the following characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity, as defined in 40 CFR 261.21-261.24. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), EPA has specifically listed many chemical wastes as hazardous. Although vinyl toluene is not specifically listed as a hazardous waste under RCRA, EPA requires employers to treat any waste as hazardous if it exhibits any of the characteristics discussed above.RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
* Conditions for respirator use
Good industrial hygiene practice requires that engineering controls be used where feasible to reduce workplace concentrations of hazardous materials to the prescribed exposure limit. However, some situations may require the use of respirators to control exposure. Respirators must be worn if the ambient concentration of vinyl toluene exceeds prescribed exposure limits. Respirators may be used (1) before engineering controls have been installed, (2) during work operations such as maintenance or repair activities that involve unknown exposures, (3) during operations that require entry into tanks or closed vessels, and (4) during emergency situations. If the use of respirators is necessary, the only respirators permitted are those that have been approved by NIOSH and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).* Respiratory protection program
Employers should institute a complete respiratory protection program that, at a minimum, complies with the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard [29 CFR 1910.134]. Such a program must include respirator selection (see Table 1), an evaluation of the worker's ability to perform the work while wearing a respirator, the regular training of personnel, fit testing, periodic workplace monitoring, and regular respirator maintenance, inspection, and cleaning. The implementation of an adequate respiratory protection program (including selection of the correct respirator) requires that a knowledgeable person be in charge of the program and that the program be evaluated regularly. For additional information on the selection and use of respirators and on the medical screening of respirator users, consult the NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic and the NIOSH Guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection.PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Protective clothing should be worn to prevent prolonged or repeated skin contact with vinyl toluene. Impervious gloves, boots, aprons, and gauntlets are recommended as necessary to prevent prolonged or repeated skin contact with vinyl toluene. Chemical protective clothing should be selected on the basis of available performance data, manufacturers' recommendations, and evaluation of the clothing under actual conditions of use. No reports have been published on the resistance of various protective clothing materials to vinyl toluene permeation. If permeability data are not readily available, protective clothing manufacturers should be requested to provide information on the best chemical protective clothing for workers to wear when they are exposed to vinyl toluene.
If vinyl toluene is dissolved in an organic solvent, the permeation properties of both the solvent and the mixture must be considered when selecting personal protective equipment and clothing.
Safety glasses, goggles, or faceshields should be worn during operations in which vinyl toluene might contact the eyes (e.g., through splashes of solution). Eyewash fountains and emergency showers should be available within the immediate work area whenever the potential exists for eye or skin contact with vinyl toluene. Contact lenses should not be worn if the potential exists for vinyl toluene exposure.
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