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General Description

  • Synonyms: n-Butane; Butyl hydride; Diethyl; Methylethylmethane
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0420
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 106-97-8
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: EJ4200000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1011 115; 1075 115
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, n-Butane: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): See Aliphatic hydrocarbon gases: Alkane [C1 - C4] 1000 ppm TWA (Listed under Butane, All isomers)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 800 ppm, 1900 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

  • Potential Symptoms: Drowsiness, narcosis, asphyxia; cardiac arrhythmia; frostbite from contact with liquid.
  • Health Effects: Asphyxiant (HE17); Narcosis (HE8); Acute toxicity---sudden death (ventricular fibrillation) (HE4).
  • Affected Organs: CNS
  • Notes:
    1. OSHA does not have a PEL for n-butane, which is affirmed as generally recognized as safe as a direct human food ingredient (21 CFR 184.1165).
    2. Gas/air mixtures are explosive.
    3. One case of hepatitis due to occupational inhalation of butane and propane has been reported.
    4. Metabolized in the body to sec-butanol and methyl ethyl ketone.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: n-Butane.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Butane (liquefied gas).
    • Aydin, Y. and Ozcakar L.: Occupational hepatitis due to chronic inhalation of propane and butane. Int. J. Clin. Pract. 57(6): 546, 2003.
    • Fuke, C., et al.: A fatal case considered to be due to cardiac arrhythmia associated with butane inhalation. Leg. Med. (Tokyo) 4(2): 134-138, 2002.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Butanes. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 386-388.
    • Rohrig, T.P.: Sudden death due to butane inhalation. Am. J. Forensic Med. Pathol. 18(3): 299-302, 1997.
    • Tsukamoto, S., Chiba, S., Muto, T., Ishikawa, T. and Shimamura, M.: Study on the metabolism of volatile hydrocarbons in mice-propane, n-butane, and iso-butane. J. Toxicol. Sci. 10(4): 323-332, 1985.
  • Date Last Revised: 02/17/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Two Carbosieve S-III tubes in series (130/65 mg sections, 60/80 mesh)
  • maximum volume: 3 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2010)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
  • Detector Tube
  • manufacturer: AUER/MSA
  • model/type: Propane-200, MSA P/N 804418, AUER P/N 5086-831
  • sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
  • upper measurement limit: 3800 ppm
  • detection limit: approximately 100 ppm
  • overall uncertainty: unknown
  • method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • Detector Tube
  • manufacturer: Gastec
  • model/type: 104
  • sampling information: 1 stroke
  • upper measurement limit: 1400 ppm
  • detection limit: 5 ppm
  • overall uncertainty: 16% for 25 to 400 ppm, 8% for 400 to 1400 ppm
  • method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • Detector Tube
  • manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
  • model/type: 8014-221SA
  • sampling information: 1 stroke
  • upper measurement limit: 0.6%
  • detection limit: approximately 0.02%
  • overall uncertainty: unknown
  • method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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