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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Dimethyl ester of sulfuric acid; Dimethylsulfate; Dimethyl Sulphate; Methyl sulfate

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0960

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 77-78-1

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: WS8225000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1595 156

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

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):

General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1 -- 1 ppm, 5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 1 ppm, 5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 1 ppm, 5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 0.1 ppm, 0.52 mg/m3 TWA; Skin; Appendix A3 - Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.1 ppm, 0.5 mg/m3 TWA; Skin; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens

Health Factors

Carcinogenic Classification:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Group B2, Probable human carcinogen

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Group 2A, Probably carcinogenic to humans [105 KB PDF, 14 pages]

National Toxicology Program (NTP): Reasonably Anticipated to be Human Carcinogen [119 KB PDF, 2 pages]

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 7 ppm

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, nose; headache; dizziness; lacrimation, conjunctivitis; photophobia; periorbital edema; sore throat; hoarseness, aphonia, dysphagia, cough; chest tightness, pain; dyspnea, pulmonary edema (delayed); cyanosis; vomiting, diarrhea; dysuria; analgesia; fever; proteinuria, hematuria; skin, eye burns; blurred vision; delirium (potential occupational carcinogen); INGES ACUTE: Abdominal cramps; burning sensation; edema of lips, tongue and pharynx; convulsions; shock or collapse.

Health Effects: Mutagen (HE2); Acute eye, lung and skin effects (HE4)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, liver, kidneys, CNS


  1. No odor warning if toxic concentrations are present. Lethal exposure known to be as low as 97 ppm for 10 minutes.
  2. Reactions include decomposition on contact with water to methanol, methyl hydrogen sulfate and sulfuric acid; and methylation of DNA and some proteins.
  3. Blood N-methylvaline levels have been used to study occupational exposure to dimethyl sulfate and suggest skin as the major site of absorption.

Literature Basis:

  • EPA Air Toxics Website: Dimethyl sulfate. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technology Transfer Network.
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Dimethyl sulfate.
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances: Sulfuric acid, dimethyl ester (RTECS # WS8225000).
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Dimethyl sulfate.
  • Anonymous: Dimethyl sulfate. IARC Monogr. Eval. Carcinog. Risks Hum. 71(Pt. 2): 575-588, 1999.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Dimethyl Sulfate. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 939-941.
  • Schettgen, T., Broding, H.C., Angerer, J. and Drexler, H.: Dimethyl sulphate: a hidden problem in occupational medicine. Occup. Environ. Med. 61(1): 73-75, 2004.
  • Wang, Y., Xia, J. and Wang, Q.: Clinical report on 62 cases of acute dimethyl sulfate intoxication. Am. J. Ind. Med. 13(4): 455-462, 1988.

Date Last Revised: 03/10/2004

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: Porapak Q Tube (100/50 mg sections, 50/80 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Acetone
    maximum volume: 10 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FPD
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2147)
    method classification: Partially Validated

On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:

  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Dräger
    model/type: Dimethyl Sulphate 0.005/c, order no. 67 18701
    sampling information: 200 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 0.05 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 0.005 ppm
    overall uncertainty: approximately 50%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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