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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 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 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)

Ca

HE2

Cancer of the respiratory tract, kidney, bladder, and skin

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

0.2 mg/m3
TWA
(benzene soluble fraction)

A1; BEI

HE2

Lung and other tumors

CAL/OSHA PEL

0.2 mg/m3

TWA

HE2

Lung and other tumors

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Known to be human carcinogens (coal tars and coal-tar pitches) [133 KB PDF, 3 pages]

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 1 [349 KB PDF, 6 pages] (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 (IDLH) concentration: 80 mg/m3 (as the benzene soluble fraction)

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  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). 

 Date Last Revised: 09/06/2012

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 [123 KB PDF, 19 pages] and Final [318 KB PDF, 55 pages] 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.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • sampling media: 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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