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This guideline summarizes pertinent information about zinc stearate 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 Recommendations may be superseded by new developments in these fields; readers are therefore advised to regard these recommendations as general guidelines and to determine whether new information is available.
(For Structure, see paper copy)* Synonyms
Dibasic zinc stearate, octodecanoic acid, zinc salt, zinc distearate, zinc stearate, talculin Z, mathe, hydense, hytech, metasap 576* Identifiers
1. CAS No.: 557-05-1* Appearance and odor
Zinc stearate is a white, fluffy powder with a faint fatty acid odor.CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
* Physical data
1. Molecular weight: 632.33* Reactivity
1. Conditions contributing to instability: Decomposed by dilute acids.* Flammability
The National Fire Protection Association has assigned a flammability rating of 1 (slight fire hazard) to zinc stearate.1. Flash point: 277 degrees C (530 degrees F) (open cup)
2. Autoignition temperature: 420 degrees C (788 degrees F)
3. Flammable limits in air: Data not available.
4. Extinguishant: Use dry chemical, carbon dioxide, water spray, or regular foam to fight fires involving zinc stearate.
Fires involving zinc stearate should be fought upwind from the maximum distance possible. Isolate the hazard area and deny access to unnecessary personnel. Firefighters should wear a full set of protective clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus when fighting fires involving zinc stearate.EXPOSURE LIMITS
* OSHA PEL
The current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PEL) for zinc stearate is 15 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m(3)) of air (total dust) and 5 mg/m(3) (respirable fraction) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration [29 CFR 1910.1000, Table Z-1].* NIOSH REL
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established a recommended exposure limit (REL) for zinc stearate of 10 mg/m(3) (total dust) and 5 mg/m(3) (respirable fraction) as a TWA for up to a 10-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek [NIOSH 1992].* ACGIH TLV
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has assigned zinc stearate a threshold limit value (TLV) of 10 mg/m(3) (total dust) as a TWA for a normal 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek [ACGIH 1991, p. 1422].* Rationale for Limits
The NIOSH limit is based on the risk of pulmonary effects [NIOSH 1992].
HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
* Routes of Exposure
Exposure to zinc stearate can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and eye or skin contact.* Summary of toxicology
1. Effects on Animals: Zinc stearate has low acute toxicity in experimental animals. Pure zinc stearate was nonirritating to rabbit skin [ACGIH 1991]. Zinc stearates are practically nontoxic to rats on acute ingestion [ACGIH 1991]. The 1-hour LC(50) in rats is greater than 200,000 mg/m(3) [ACGIH 1991].* Signs and symptoms of exposure
1. Acute exposure: No signs or symptoms of acute exposure to zinc stearate have been reported in humans.EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROCEDURES
* Emergency medical procedures: [NIOSH to supply]
5. Rescue: Remove an incapacitated worker from further exposure and implement appropriate emergency procedures (e.g., those listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet required by OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard [29 CFR 1910.1200]). All workers should be familiar with emergency procedures, the location and proper use of emergency equipment, and methods of protecting themselves during rescue operations.EXPOSURE SOURCES AND CONTROL METHODS
The following operations may involve zinc stearate and lead to worker exposures to this substance:
* The manufacture and transportation of zinc stearateMethods that are effective in controlling worker exposures to zinc stearate, depending on the feasibility of implementation, are as follows:
Good sources of information about control methods are as follows:
1. ACGIH . Industrial ventilation--a manual of recommended practice. 21st ed. 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.
WORKPLACE MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT
Determination of a worker's exposure to airborne zinc stearate (total dust and respirable fraction) is made using a low ash polyvinyl chloride (LAPVC) 5 micron filter (preceded by a 10 mm nylon cyclone for the respirable fraction sampling). Samples are collected at a maximum flow rate of 2 liters/minute until a maximum collection volume of 960 liters is reached. Analysis is conducted by gravimetric method. This method is described in the OSHA Computerized Information System [OSHA 1994].
PERSONAL HYGIENE PROCEDURES
If zinc stearate contacts the skin, workers should flush the affected areas immediately with plenty of water, followed by washing with soap and water.
Clothing contaminated with zinc stearate should be removed immediately, and provisions should be made for the safe removal of the chemical from the clothing.
A worker who handles zinc stearate should thoroughly wash hands, forearms, and face with soap and water before eating, using tobacco products, using toilet facilities, applying cosmetics, or taking medication.
Workers should not eat, drink, use tobacco products, apply cosmetics, or take medication in areas where zinc stearate or a solution containing zinc stearate is handled, processed, or stored.
Zinc stearate 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]. Containers of zinc stearate should be protected from physical damage and should be stored separately from strong oxidizers or dilute acids may cause reactions to occur.
SPILLS AND LEAKS
In the event of a spill or leak involving zinc stearate, 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. Clean up spills in a manner that does not disperse dust generate large dust clouds.
2. Provide ventilation.
3. Remove all sources of ignition where dust levels may create an explosion hazard.
4. Use non-sparking tools.
5. Do not dispose of this material in sewers or waterways.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for emergency planning, reportable quantities of hazardous releases, community right-to-know, and hazardous waste management may change over time. Users are therefore advised to determine periodically whether new information is available.
* Emergency planning requirements
Zinc stearate is not subject to EPA emergency planning requirements under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) (Title III) in 42 USC 11022.* Reportable quantity requirements for hazardous releases
A hazardous substance release is defined by EPA as any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into the environment (including the abandonment or discarding of contaminated containers) of hazardous substances. In the event of a release that is above the reportable quantity for that chemical, employers are required to notify the proper Federal, State, and local authorities [40 CFR 355.40].* Community right-to-know requirements
Employers are not required by EPA in 40 CFR Part 372.30 to submit a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory form (Form R) to EPA reporting the amount of zinc stearate 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) [40 USC 6901 et seq.], EPA has specifically listed many chemical wastes as hazardous. Although zinc stearate is not specifically listed as a hazardous waste under RCRA, EPA requires employers to treat 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 zinc stearate 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 emergencies. Workers should only use respirators 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, an evaluation of the worker's ability to perform the work while wearing a respirator, the regular training of personnel, respirator 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 latest edition of the NIOSH Respirator Decision Logic [NIOSH 1987b] and the NIOSH Guide to Industrial Respiratory Protection [NIOSH 1987a].PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
Workers should use appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment that must be carefully selected, used, and maintained to be effective in preventing skin contact with zinc stearate. The selection of the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., gloves, sleeves, encapsulating suits) should be based on the extent of the worker's potential exposure to zinc stearate. There are no published reports on the resistance of various materials to permeation by zinc stearate.
To evaluate the use of PPE materials with zinc stearate, users should consult the best available performance data and manufacturers' recommendations. Significant differences have been demonstrated in the chemical resistance of generically similar PPE materials (e.g., butyl) produced by different manufacturers. In addition, the chemical resistance of a mixture may be significantly different from that of any of its neat components.
Any chemical-resistant clothing that is used should be periodically evaluated to determine its effectiveness in preventing dermal contact. Safety showers and eye wash stations should be located close to operations that involve zinc stearate.
Splash-proof chemical safety goggles or face shields (20 to 30 cm long, minimum) should be worn during any operation in which a solvent, caustic, or other toxic substance may be splashed into the eyes.
In addition to the possible need for wearing protective outer apparel (e.g., aprons, encapsulating suits), workers should wear work uniforms, coveralls, or similar full-body coverings that are laundered each day. Employers should provide lockers or other closed areas to store work and street clothing separately. Employers should collect work clothing at the end of each work shift and provide for its laundering. Laundry personnel should be informed about the potential hazards of handling contaminated clothing and instructed about measures to minimize their health risk.
Protective clothing should be kept free of oil and grease and should be inspected and maintained regularly to preserve its effectiveness.
Protective clothing may interfere with the body's heat dissipation, especially during hot weather or during work in hot or poorly ventilated work environments.
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NIOSH . Registry of toxic effects of chemical substances: Zinc stearate. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, Technical Information Branch.
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NLM . Hazardous substances data bank: Zinc stearate. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine.
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