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Asbestos (all forms)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Actinolite asbestos; Amosite asbestos; Anthophyllite asbestos; Chrysotile asbestos; Crocidolite asbestos; Tremolite asbestos
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 9020
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 1332-21-4 (Asbestos); 12172-67-7 (Ferroactinolite asbestos); 17068-78-9 (Anthophyllite asbestos); 12172-73-5 (Amosite asbestos); 12001-29-5 (Chrysotile asbestos); 12001-28-4 (Crocidolite asbestos); 14567-73-8 (Tremolite asbestos)
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: CI6475000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: (PDF) 2212 171 (blue, brown); 2590 171 (white)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Asbestos: Chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary, Asbestos: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs
  • 0.1 fiber/cm3TWA
  • 1.0 fiber/cm3 Excursion Limit (30 minutes)

HE1

Lung, stomach, and colon cancer; mesothelioma

HE10 Nonmalignant lung disease (asbestosis) and pleural abnormalities (plaques, thickening)
  • 0.1 fiber/cm3 TWA
  • 1.0 fiber/cm3 Excursion Limit (30 minute)

HE1

Lung, stomach, and colon cancer; mesothelioma

HE10

Nonmalignant lung disease (asbestosis) and pleural abnormalities (plaques, thickening)

  • 0.1 fiber/cm3 TWA
  • 1.0 fiber/cm3 Excursion Limit (30 minute)

HE1

Lung, stomach, and colon cancer; mesothelioma

HE10 Nonmalignant lung disease (asbestosis) and pleural abnormalities (plaques, thickening)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
  • (Listed under Crystalline Silica)
  • See Appendix A and Appendix C
  • Lowest feasible concentration
  • 0.1 fiber/cm3 for fibers >5µm
  • Ca

HE1

Lung cancer, mesothelioma

HE10

Asbestosis

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

  • 0.1 fiber/cm3 TWA (respirable fibers)
  • A1

HE1

Lung cancer, mesothelioma

HE10

Asbestosis

CAL/OSHA PELs

  • 0.1 fiber/cm3 TWA
  • 1 fiber/cm3 STEL

HE1

Lung cancer, mesothelioma

HE10

Asbestosis

  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be a human carcinogen (PDF)
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 (PDF) (carcinogenic to humans)
  • 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: Not listed
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. Occupational exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of ovarian and laryngeal cancer (Camargo et al. 2011; Ramroth et al. 2011; Clin et al. 2011; Harding et al. 2009).
    2. Occupational exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of stroke (Harding et al. 2009).
  • Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012
  • Literature Basis
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Asbestos, All Forms. 2001.
    • Camargo MC, Stayner LT, Straif K, Reina M, Al-Alem U, Demers PA, Landrigan PJ: Occupational exposure to asbestos and ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect. 119(9):1211-7, September 2011.
    • Clin B, Morlais F, Launoy G, Guizard AV, Dubois B, Bouvier V, Desoubeaux N, Marquignon MF, Raffaelli C, Paris C, Galateau-Salle F, Guittet L, Letourneux M: Cancer incidence within a cohort occupationally exposed to asbestos: a study of dose-response relationships. Occup Environ Med. 68(11):832-6, November 2011.
    • Harding AH, Darnton A, Wegerdt J, McElvenny D: Mortality among British asbestos workers undergoing regular medical examinations (1971-2005). Occup Environ Med. 66(7):487-95, July 2009.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Asbestos. 1988.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Chrysotile. March 22, 1999.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Crocidolite. November 27, 1998.
    • OSHA: Occupational Exposure to Asbestos. 1994.
    • Ramroth H, Ahrens W, Dietz A, Becher H: Occupational asbestos exposure as a risk factor for laryngeal carcinoma in a population-based case-control study from Germany. Am J Ind Med. 54(7):510-4, July 2011.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns (open face) 25 mm cassette with 50 mm conductive cowl
  • maximum volume: 2400 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 5.0 L/min (Maritime only); 2.5 L/min (General Industry and Construction)
  • minimum flow rate: 0.5 L/min (TWA)
  • minimum volume: 48 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 5.0 L/min
  • minimum flow rate: 1.6 L/min (30 min Excursion Limit)
  • current analytical method: Phase Contrast Microscopy; PCM
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-160)
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: Do not request multiple analytes. Do not overload. If dust is high, reduce air volume to avoid overloading. A minimum of 2 blanks or 10% of the number of samples are required for every set.
Wipe Sampling Method:
  • note: Do not use Whatman or other paper filters. Bulk preferred.
Bulk Method:
  • Bulk Samples
  • current analytical method: Polarized Light Microscopy; PLM
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-191)
  • note: Collect sample in a 20 mL scintillation vial. Do not ship bulk samples with air samples

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By CAS Number
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