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Carbon Dioxide

General Description

  • Synonyms: Carbonic acid gas; Dry ice; CO2; Diesel exhaust component
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0530
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 124-38-9
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: FF6400000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1013 21
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Carbon Dioxide: Physical description, chemical 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

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

HE8

Narcosis

HE11 Respiratory stimulation
HE17 Asphyxiation

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

HE8

Narcosis

HE11 Respiratory stimulation
HE17 Asphyxiation

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

HE8

Narcosis

HE11 Respiratory stimulation
HE17 Asphyxiation

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

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

30,000 ppm
(54,000 mg/m3)
STEL

HE7

Non-narcotic central nervous system effects (eye flickering, psychomotor excitation, myoclonic twitching, headache, dizziness, dyspnea, sweating, restlessness)

HE8 Central nervous system effects (loss of consciousness)
HE11 Respiratory stimulation

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

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

30,000 ppm
(54,000 mg/m3)
STEL

HE4

Metabolic stress

HE11 Increased pulmonary ventilation rates
HE17 Asphyxiation
CAL/OSHA PELs

5,000 ppm
(9,000 mg/m3)
TWA

30,000 ppm
(54,000 mg/m3)
STEL

HE4

Metabolic stress
HE11 Increased pulmonary ventilation rates
HE17 Asphyxiation
  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • 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: 40,000 ppm
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. Although carbon dioxide itself is not combustible, containers of carbon dioxide may burst in the heat of a fire (NIOSH/IPCS 2006).
    2. At high concentrations, carbon dioxide may irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. It may affect vision by inducing proptosis, mydriasis, yellowed vision, and transient blindness. Retinal ganglion cells have been noted to be damaged (Grant 1986).
    3. Exposure to high levels of carbon dioxide may induce cardiopulmonary effects that can be reversed when removed from the environment (Halpern et al. 2004).
  • Literature Basis
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Carbon Dioxide. 2001.
    • Grant, W.M.: Toxicology of the Eye. 3rd ed. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, p. 179, 1986.
    • Halpern, P., Raskin, Y., Sorkine, P., Oganezov, A.: Exposure to extremely high concentrations of carbon dioxide - a clinical description of a mass casualty incident. Ann Emerg Med. 43(2):196-9, Feb 2004.
    • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Carbon Dioxide. 1976.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Carbon Dioxide. 1978.
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Carbon Dioxide. 2006.
  • Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Five Layer Aluminized Gas Sampling Bag (5 liter)
  • maximum volume: 5.0 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
  • maximum volume: 4.5 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.3 L/min (STEL)
  • minimum volume: 2.0 Liters
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/TCD
  • method reference: 2 (OSHA ID-172)
  • sampling analytical error: 0.11
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: Use Detector tubes for screening. If greater than PEL call lab+ for gas sampling bags.
Secondary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SAM2):
  • Detector Tube
  • company: Gastec
  • part #: 2L
  • range: 0.13-6.0 %v
  • class: SEI certified
  • Detector Tube
  • company: Draeger
  • part #: CH 23501
  • range: 0.5-6 %v
  • class: SEI certified
  • Detector Tube
  • company: Matheson/Kitagawa
  • part #: 8014-126SA
  • range: 0.1-2.6 %
  • class: SEI certified
  • Instrumentation
  • company: Infrared Spectrophotometer
  • part #: MIRAN 1A & 1B
  • range: 0.4 ppm @ 4.3 µm
  • class: Mfg
  • Instrumentation
  • company: Infrared Spectrophotometer
  • part #: MIRAN 103
  • range: 2% @ 4.45 µm
  • class: Mfg
Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (Wisconsin OHL):
  • Evacuated Cans - Back Filled with Nitrogen (Hold button down for a full 10 seconds)
  • maximum volume: 120 mLiters
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/TCD
  • method reference: (WOHL In-House File)
  • method classification: Not Validated
  • note: Use Detector tubes for screening. If greater than PEL call Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory (WOHL) for evacuated cans. If a TWA determination is desired collect a 5 liter sample in gas sampling bag. A grab sample can then be collected from the bag using the evacuated cans.

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