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Dimethyl sulfate

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 Emergency Response Guidebook: 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):
  • 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:
  • 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); Acute Ingestion: 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
  • Notes:
    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):
  • Porapak Q Tube (100/50 mg sections, 50/80 mesh)
  • maximum volume: 10 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FPD
  • analytical solvent: Acetone
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA PV2147)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
  • 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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