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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid diethyl ester; DEP; Diethyl ester of phthalic acid; Ethyl phthalate; Phthalic acid, diethyl ester

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0933

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 84-66-2

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: TI1050000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Diethyl phthalate: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 5 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 5 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

Carcinogenic Classification:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, nose, throat; headache, dizziness, nausea; lacrimation; possible polyneuropathy, vestibular dysfunction; pain, numbness, lassitude, spasms in arms and legs; in animals: reproductive effects; INGES. ACUTE: Abdominal pain, nausea.

Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat---Mild (HE16)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, CNS, peripheral nervous system, reproductive system


  1. OSHA does not have a PEL for diethyl phthalate.
  2. EPA’s oral reference dose (daily oral exposure likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious non-cancer effects during a lifetime) of diethyl phthalate is 0.8 mg/kg/day.
  3. Diethyl phthalate is regulated as a denaturant for alcohol (27 CFR 21.106) and it is often used at a concentration of 0.5% to denature ethanol used in cosmetic products.
  4. Although several cases of allergy to diethyl phthalate have been reported, attempts to sensitize skin in studies with animals and human volunteers have not been successful.
  5. In a randomly selected adult reference U.S. population, the urinary metabolite monoethyl phthalate (median, 305 µg/L) occurred in much greater concentrations than the metabolites of six other phthalate derivatives.
  6. The absorption rate of diethyl phthalate was reported to be much slower through human skin than through rat skin in vitro.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Diethyl phthalate.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Diethyl phthalate.
  • U.S. EPA Integrated Risk Information System: Diethyl phthalate (CASRN 84-66-2).
  • Api, A.M.: Toxicological profile of diethyl phthalate: a vehicle for fragrance and cosmetic ingredients. Food Chem. Toxicol. 39(2): 97-108, 2001.
  • Blount, B.C., et al.: Levels of seven urinary phthalate metabolites in a human reference population. Environ. Health Perspect. 108(10): 979-982, 2000.
  • David, R.M., Lockhart, L.K. and Ruble, K.L.: Lack of sensitization for trimellitate, phthalate, terephthlate and isobutyrate plasticizers in a human repeated insult patch test. Food Chem. Toxicol. 41(4): 589-593, 2003.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Diethyl Phthalate. In, Sittig’s Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 880-882.
  • Scott, R.C., Dugard, P.H., Ramsey, J.D. and Rhodes, C.: In vitro absorption of some o-phthalate diesters through human and rat skin. Environ. Health Perspect. 74: 223-227, 1987.

Date Last Revised: 05/14/2007

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: OSHA Versatile Sampler (OVS-Tenax) - 13 mm Tenax Tube (140/70 mg sections) with a Glass Fiber filter enclosed
    analytical solvent: Toluene
    maximum volume: 240 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 104)
    method classification: Fully Validated

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