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Arsenic, Inorganic

General Description

  • Synonyms: Includes copper acetoarsenite, lead arsenate, and all inorganic compounds containing arsenic except arsine, measured as (As)
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0260
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7440-38-2; 3687-31-8 (lead arsenate); 12002-03-8 (copper acetoarsenite)
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1558 152 (metal); 1562 152 (dust)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Arsenic (Inorganic compounds, as As): Chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary, Arsenic: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 1910.1018 Inorganic Arsenic

0.01 mg/m3
TWA

5 µg/m3
Action Level

HE1

Cancer (lung, lymphatic)

HE3 Liver effects (cirrhosis, hepatitis)
HE4 Acute toxicity, including respiratory and gastrointestinal effects
HE7 Nervous system effects (peripheral neuritis)
HE15 Skin, eye, mucous membrane, and respiratory irritation; skin sensitization; contact dermatitis; keratosis

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 1926.1118 Inorganic Arsenic

0.01 mg/m3
TWA

5 µg/m3
Action Level

HE1

Cancer (lung, lymphatic)

HE3 Liver effects (cirrhosis, hepatitis)
HE4 Acute toxicity, including respiratory and gastrointestinal effects
HE7 Nervous system effects (peripheral neuritis)
HE15 Skin, eye, mucous membrane, and respiratory irritation; skin sensitization; contact dermatitis; keratosis

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 1915.1018 Inorganic Arsenic

0.01 mg/m3
TWA

5 µg/m3
Action Level

HE1

Cancer (lung, lymphatic)

HE3 Liver effects (cirrhosis, hepatitis)
HE4 Acute toxicity, including respiratory and gastrointestinal effects
HE7 Nervous system effects (peripheral neuritis)
HE15 Skin, eye, mucous membrane, and respiratory irritation; skin sensitization; contact dermatitis; keratosis

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

0.002 mg/m3
Ceiling
(15 minute)

Ca

HE1

Cancer (skin, lung, lymphatic)

HE3 Reduced peripheral circulation, increased mortality due to cardiovascular failure, cirrhosis of the liver
HE7 Peripheral neuritis and neuropathy, weakness of the arms and legs
HE12 Anemia
HE14 Eye and skin irritation; contact dermatitis; sensitization; ulceration and perforation of the nasal septum

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001)

0.01 mg/m3
(as As)

A1; BEI

HE1

Cancer (skin and lung)

HE3 Liver and peripheral vascular effects
HE14 Skin irritation and upper respiratory effects, including a perforated nasal septum
CAL/OSHA PELs

0.01 mg/m3
TWA

0.005 mg/m3
Action Level

HE1

Cancer (skin and lung)
HE3 Liver and peripheral vascular effects
HE14 Skin irritation and upper respiratory effects, including a perforated nasal septum
  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be a human carcinogen (PDF).
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 (carcinogenic to humans) (PDF)
  • EPA carcinogenic classification: Human carcinogen
  • EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 5 mg/m3
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. Arsenic is combustible (NIOSH/IPCS 2010).
    2. Arsenic exposure may be associated with liver cancer (ACGIH 2001).
    3. Occupational exposure to arsenic may be a risk factor for coronary disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease (Navas-Acien et al. 2005).
    4. Occupational exposure to arsenic may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer (Kreuzer et al. 2012).
    5. Arsenic may be genotoxic and may cause Raynaud's phenomena, which is a peripheral vascular disease characterized by spasm of the digital arteries and numbness of the fingers (ATSDR 2007).
    6. Arsenic may cause Bowen's Disease, a neoplastic skin disease (Col et al. 1999).
  • Literature Basis:
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Arsenic and Its Organic Compounds. 2001.
    • ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. August 2007.
    • Col, M., Col, C., Soran, A., Sayli, B.S., Ozturk, S.: Arsenic-related Bowen's disease, palmar keratosis, and skin cancer. Environmental Health perspectives. 107(8):687-689, 1999.
    • Kreuzer M, Straif K, Marsh JW, Dufey F, Grosche B, Nosske D, Sogl M.: Occupational dust and radiation exposure and mortality from stomach cancer among German uranium miners, 1946-2003. Occup Environ Med. 69(3):217-23, March 2012.
    • Navas-Acien A, Sharrett AR, Silbergeld EK et al.: Arsenic exposure and cardiovascular disease - A systematic review of the epidemiologic evidence. Am J Epidemiol. 162(11):1037-1049, 2005.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Standards - Toxic and Hazardous Substances - Inorganic Arsenic. 1910.1018.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Inorganic Arsenic and its Compounds (as As) Potential Human Carcinogen. 1988.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Arsenic. 2010.
    • OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Medical surveillance guidelines - Inorganic arsenic. 29 CFR 1910.1018 App C.
  • Date Last Revised: 09/06/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • minimum volume: 480 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS/GF
  • method reference: OSHA Manual of Analytical Methods (OSHA ID-105)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period.
    For volatile arsenic compounds, sample with a MCEF 0.8 microns filter followed by a sodium carbonate treated backup pad.
    Arsenic and/or any of the following metals may be analyzed from the same full-shift sample: lead, cadmium, iron, zinc, and copper.
  • alternate analytical method: Inductively Coupled Plasma; ICP-MS
  • method reference: OSHA Manual of Analytical Methods (OSHA 1006)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: If arsine is suspected to also be present, sample with a MCEF and a sodium carbonate treated backup pad followed by and in series with a large charcoal tube containing 400 mg (front) and 200 mg (backup) sections of activated coconut shell charcoal. This sampling train is described in Section 5.1.2. of OSHA ID-105. The minimum air volume is 120 L and the sampling rate is 0.5 L/min with this sampling train.
Wipe Sampling Method:
  • Whatman Smear Tab Filter
  • analytical solvent: Distilled water

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