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Carbon Black

General Description

  • Synonyms: Channel black; Lamp black; Furnace black; Thermal black; Acetylene black
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0527
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 1333-86-4
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: FF5800000
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Carbon Black: Chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

3.5 mg/m3
TWA

HE10

Accumulation of dust in pulmonary system

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

3.5 mg/m3
TWA

HE10

Accumulation of dust in pulmonary system

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000

3.5 mg/m3
TWA

HE10

Accumulation of dust in pulmonary system

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
See Appendix A and Appendix C

3.5 mg/m3
TWA

HE3

Myocardial dystrophy

HE10

 

Pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis

0.1 mg PAHs/m3
TWA
(Carbon black in the presence of PAHs)

Ca
HE2 Cancers associated with PAHs

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2011)

3.5 mg/m3
TWA
(inhalable particulate matter)

A3

HE10

 

Respiratory damage, causing bronchitis and decreased lung function

 

CAL/OSHA PELs

3.5 mg/m3
TWA

 

 

  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • 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: 1,750 mg/m3
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. Carbon black is combustible, and some carbon blacks containing over 8% volatiles may pose an explosion hazard if finely dispersed (NIOSH/IPCS 2010).
    2. Based on the results from several epidemiological studies, no association between exposure to carbon black and lung cancer was found (ACGIH 2011).
    3. Three studies of female rats that inhaled carbon black and three additional studies of female rats exposed intratracheally found significant increases in the incidence of malignant lung tumors, providing sufficient evidence that carbon black can cause cancer in animals (Heinrich et al. 1995; Nikula et al. 1995; Driscoll et al. 1996). IARC (2010) noted that the human epidemiological evidence was inconsistent. Two of the three studies of carbon black production workers observed excess risk for lung cancer. The Working Group concluded that there was inadequate evidence from epidemiological studies to assess whether carbon black causes cancer in humans.
    4. Carbon black has been shown to be a known rat carcinogen (EPA 2003).
  • Literature Basis
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Carbon Black. 2011.
    • Driscoll, KE, Carter, JM, Howard, BW et al.: Pulmonary inflammatory, chemokine, and mutagenic responses in rats after subchronic inhalation of carbon black. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 136:372-380, 1996.
    • EPA: Integrated Risk Information System - Diesel Exhaust. 2003.
    • Heinrich, U, Fuhst, R, Rittinghausen, S et al.: Chronic inhalation exposure of Wistar rats and two different strains of mice to diesel engine exhaust, carbon black, and titanium dioxide. Inhal Toxicol. 7:533-556, 1995.
    • IARC: Monograph 93 - Carbon Black. 2010.
    • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Carbon Black. 1978.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Carbon Black.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Carbon Black. May 7, 2010.
    • Nikula, KJ, Snipes, MB, Barr, EB et al.: Comparative pulmonary toxicities and carcinogenicities of chronically inhaled diesel exhaust and carbon black in F344 rats. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 25:80-94, 1995.
  • Date Last Revised: 10/3/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Tared Low Ash Polyvinyl Chloride (LAPVC) Filter 5 microns pore size closed face
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gravimetric
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-196)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • notes: Submit as a separate sample. If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period. If poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are suspected to be present, take and submit separate samples on glass fiber filters per OSHA Method 58.

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