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Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles (benzene soluble fraction)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Coal tar pitch; Oil pitch; Pitch; CTPV; Coal tar distillates
  • Components (contains detectable quantities of one or more of the following polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]): Benz[a]anthracene; Benzo[b]fluoranthene; Chrysene; Anthracene; Benzo[a]pyrene; Phenanthrene; Acridine; Pyrene
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0700
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 65996-93-2
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: GF8655000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1136 128
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles: Chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

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

0.2 mg/m3 TWA (benzene soluble fraction) HE2 Lung and other tumors

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

0.2 mg/m3 TWA (benzene soluble fraction) HE2 Lung and other tumors

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

0.2 mg/m3 TWA (benzene soluble fraction) HE2 Lung and other tumors

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

0.1 mg/m3 TWA (cyclohexane extractable fraction)


HE2 Cancer of the respiratory tract, kidney, bladder, and skin
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV)

0.2 mg/m3 TWA (benzene soluble fraction)


HE2 Lung and other tumors

0.2 mg/m3


HE2 Lung and other tumors
  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be human carcinogens (coal tars and coal-tar pitches) (PDF)
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 (PDF) (carcinogenic to humans [coal-tar pitch])
  • 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 Concentration (IDLH): 80 mg/m3 (as the benzene soluble fraction)
  • Notes:
    1. Coal tar pitch is combustible and decomposes when heated above 400°C, producing toxic fumes. It reacts with strong oxidants (NIOSH/IPCS 2002).
    2. Researchers found a mathematical relationship between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon air concentrations and 1-hydroxypyrene concentration (biological monitoring) in urine. Researchers determined that coke oven workers with a urinary concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene of 2.3 µmol/mol creatinine after three work days were exposed to the coal tar pitch volatile TLV air concentration (Jongeneelen 1992).
    3. Deaths have been reported from atherosclerosis among Norwegian aluminum smelter workers due to cumulative exposure to coal tar pitch volatiles (Bingham et al. 2001).
  • Literature Basis:
    • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles. 2001.
    • Bingham, E., Cohrssen, B., Powell, C.H.: Patty's Toxicology Volumes 1-9 5th ed. John Wiley & Sons. New York, N.Y. p. 1:773, 2001.
    • California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board: Initial (PDF) and Final (PDF) Statement of Reasons August 3, 2010.
    • Jongeneelen, F.: Biological exposure limit for occupational exposure to coal tar pitch volatiles at cokeovens. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 63(8):511-516, 1992.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles. 1978
    • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Coal Tar Pitch. March 2002.
  • Date Last Revised: 09/06/2012

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Pre-cleaned Glass Fiber Filter (Gelman Type A/E)
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • minimum flow rate: 1.5-2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Extraction-gravimetric
  • method reference: 2 (OSHA 58)
  • sampling and analytical error: 0.15
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel can obtain pre-cleaned filters, vials, and Teflon-lined caps from SLTC. After sampling, filter must be transferred to a vial with a Teflon-lined cap. Sample must be protected from direct sunlight. If chemicals are present that may be soluble in Benzene, such as Sulfur, please note them on the 91A form, because additional analyses may be possible to determine the extent of interference.
Bulk Method:
  • Limit the amount of bulk submitted to one gram or one mL.

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