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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Anthracin; Green Oil; Paranaphthalene; Tetra Olive N2G

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0227

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 120-12-7

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: CA9350000

Chemical Description and Physical Properties:
White crystals.
molecular formula: C14H10
molecular weight: 178.24
boiling point: 340°C
melting point: 218°C
Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- See Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles

Health Factors

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 3, not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Group D, not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans

Potential symptoms: Irritation of skin and respiratory tract; cough, sore throat; dermatitis with UV light exposure; eye redness, pain; INGES. ACUTE: Abdominal pain.

Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Mild (HE16)

Affected organs: Multiple tumor sites in animals (e.g., mammary, stomach, lung, skin).


  1. Anthracene usually occurs as part of a mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in coal tar pitch and certain petroleum distillate fractions.
  2. The levels of anthracene and other PAH in engine (gasoline and diesel) lubricating oils increase with mileage of use.
  3. Unlike several other PAH, anthracene does not appear to significantly activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor to increase the activities of certain cytochrome P-450 enzymes, nor is it bioactivated by P-450s to metabolites that form adducts with DNA as are the carcinogenic PAH.
  4. EPAs reference dose (RfD, daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime) for anthracene is 0.3 mg/kg/day.
  5. Although anthracene has been measured in the urine of road pavers (exposed to hot asphalt) and general road construction employees (exposed to diesel exhaust), no correlation between airborne anthracene exposure and urinary anthracene was found.

Section Last Revised: 08/23/2006

Literature Basis:

  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Anthracene.
  • U.S. EPA Integrated Risk Information System: Anthracene (CASRN 120-12-7).
  • Campo, L., et al.: Biological monitoring of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by determination of unmetabolized compounds in urine. Toxicol. Lett. 162(2-3): 132-138, 2006.
  • Carmichael, P.L., Jacob, J., Grimmer, G. and Phillips, D.H.: Analysis of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content of petrol and diesel engine lubricating oils and determination of DNA adducts in topically treated mice by 32P-postlabelling. Carcinogenesis 11(11): 2025-2032, 1990.
  • Gupta, R.C., Earley, K. and Sharma, S.: Use of human peripheral lymphocytes to measure DNA binding capacity of chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 85(10): 3513-3517, 1988.
  • Shimada, T., et al.: Arylhydrocarbon receptor-dependent induction of liver and lung cytochromes P450 1A1, 1A2, and 1B1 by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls in genetically engineered C57BL/6J mice. Carcinogenesis 23(7): 1199-1207, 2002.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Pre-cleaned Glass Fiber Filter (37 mm)
    analytical solvent: Benzene
    maximum volume: 960 Liters   maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: High Performance Liquid Chromatography; HPLC/UV/FLU
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 58)
    method classification: Fully Validated (In conjunction with Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles and Coke Oven Emissions)
    note: OSHA personnel can obtain pre-cleaned filters, vials, and Teflon-lined caps from SLTC. After sampling, filter must be transferred to a vial with a Teflon-lined cap. Sample must be protected from direct sunlight.
    note: Anthracene is a polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon that OSHA has identified as one of a number of typical components of the benzene-soluble fraction of coal tar pitch volatiles. Other components include benzo[a]pyrene, phenanthrene, acridine, chrysene, and pyrene. There is no specific OSHA PEL for anthracene. Anthracene is characteristic of cold tar pitch volatiles (PEL is 0.2 mg/m3) and/or coke oven emissions (PEL is 0.15 mg/m3).

Bulk method:

  • Limit the amount of bulk submitted to one gram or one mL.