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General Description

  • Synonyms: 3-Hydroxybutanoic Acid, beta-Lactone; Hydroxybutyric Acid Lactone; 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid, beta-Lactone; 4-Methyl-2-Oxetanone
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: B427
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 3068-88-0
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: RQ8050000
  • Chemical Description and Physical Properties:
    • liquid
    • molecular weight: 86.09
    • molecular formula: C4H6O2
    • boiling point: 71-73°C
    • melting point: -43.5°C
    • flash point: 60°C

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • Potential Symptoms: No symptoms for this chemical are available.
  • Health Effects: Known animal carcinogen (HE2); LD50 (oral, rat) is 17 ml/kg.
  • Affected Organs: Skin (where applied in animal carcinogenicity studies)
  • Notes:
    1. OSHA does not have a PEL for β-butyrolactone.
    2. β-Butyrolactone can form adducts with the nucleosides, guanosine, adenosine and cytidine. Adduct formation with DNA and RNA have also been demonstrated.
    3. β-Butyrolactone is metabolized to 2-hydroxybutyric acid by carboxylesterases in animal tissues from nasal turbinates, trachea, lungs and liver, with specific tissue activity decreasing in the order, rabbit > hamster > rat.
  • Literature Basis:
    • Dahl, A.R., Miller, S.C. and Petridou-Fischer, J.: Carboxylesterases in the respiratory tracts of rabbits, rats and Syrian hamsters. Toxicol. Lett. 36(2): 129-136, 1987.
    • Hemminki, K.: Reactions of beta-propiolactone, beta-butyrolactone and gamma-butyrolactone with nucleic acids. Chem. Biol. Interact. 34(3): 323-331, 1981.
    • No authors listed: beta-Butyrolactone. IARC Monogr. Eval. Carcinog. Risks Hum. 71(Pt. 3): 1317-1318, 1999.
    • Smyth, H.F., Jr., Carpenter, C.P., Weil, C.S., Pozzani, U.C., Striegel, J.A. and Nycum, J.S.: Range-finding toxicity data: List VII. Am. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J. 30(5): 470-476, 1969.
  • Date Last Revised: 05/24/2007

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
  • maximum volume: 10 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • analytical solvent: (95:5) Methylene Chloride:Methanol
  • method reference: OSHA Salt Lake Technical Center In-House File
  • method classification: Not Validated
  • analytical condition: Samples were received requesting cellosolves and butyrolactone. Phase equilibrium studies looked reasonable and gama-butyrolactone was found and confirmed on the "A" portion of a sample.

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