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Cellulose (Total Dust)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Paper Fiber; Hydroxycellulose; Pyrocellulose
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0575
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 9004-34-6
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: FJ5691460
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Cellulose: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 10 mg/m3 TWA
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 10 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, mucous membranes; blocked nose, dry nose, sneezing; hoarseness, cough and phlegm; exercise-induced dyspnea
  • Health Effects: Nuisance particulate (HE19)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system
  • Notes:
    1. Cellulose dust is combustible, and under certain circumstances may represent an explosion hazard (see OSHA, 2005).
    2. Exposure of insulation installers to both cellulose dust and cellulose fibers has been studied, and the exposure risk was found to be high for loose-fill materials.
    3. Exposure of workers in soft tissue paper manufacturing in Germany to inhalable dust was considered high (means, 10.3 and 12.4 mg/m3), whereas exposure to respirable dust was much lower (means, 0.22 and 0.28 mg/m3). Thus, most significant symptoms involved the upper respiratory tract, although pulmonary function parameters (FVC and FEV1) also decreased with increasing exposure.
    4. Workers involved in the manufacturing of cellulose from raw materials, such as reeds or cotton [see Cotton Dust (Raw)], may also experience respiratory symptoms related to exposure to irritating dust.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Cellulose.
    • OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB 07-31-2005): Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions.
    • Breum, N.O., Schneider, T., Jorgensen, O., Valdbjorn-Rasmussen, T. and Skibstrup-Eriksen, S.: Cellulosic building insulation versus mineral wool, fiberglass or perlite: installer's exposure by inhalation of fibers, dust, endotoxin and fire-retardant additives. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 47(8): 653-669, 2003.
    • Çöplü, L., et al.: Lung health in workers exposed to reed dust. Respir. Med. 99(4): 421-428, 2005.
    • Kraus, T., Pfahlberg, A., Gefeller, O. and Raithel, H.J.: Respiratory symptoms and diseases among workers in the soft tissue producing industry. Occup. Environ. Med. 59(12): 830-835, 2002.
    • Kraus, T., Pfahlberg, A., Zöbelein, P., Gefeller, O. and Raithel, H.J.: Lung function among workers in the soft tissue paper-producing industry. Chest 125(2): 731-736, 2004.
  • Date Last Revised: 09/23/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Tared 37-mm diameter low-ash polyvinyl chloride filter
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gravimetric
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2121)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel can obtain tared sampling media from the Salt Lake Technical Center (SLTC).

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