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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Diethyl ether; Ethyl oxide; Ether; Diethyl oxide; 1,1'-Oxybisethane

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1210

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 60-29-7

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: KI5775000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1155 127

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

Exposure Limits

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
General Industry: 29 CFR 1910.1000 Z-1 Table -- 400 ppm, 1200 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 400 ppm, 1200 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 400 ppm, 1200 mg/m3 TWA
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 400 ppm, 1210 mg/m3 TWA; 500 ppm, 1520 mg/m3 STEL

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): Appendix D - Substances With No Established RELs

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 1,900 ppm [LEL]

Potential Symptoms: Eye, skin, upper respiratory system irritation; cough, sore throat; dizziness, drowsiness; headache; excitation; narcosis; nausea, vomiting; labored breathing, unconsciousness; dry skin.

Health Effects: Narcosis (HE8) Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin ---Mild (HE16); Explosive, Flammable (HE18).

Affected Organs: CNS, skin, respiratory system, eyes

  1. Vapor/air mixtures are explosive. The IDLH determined by NIOSH is 10% of the lower explosive limit of 1.9%.
  2. The minimum alveolar concentration necessary to achieve a surgical plane of anesthesia with ethyl ether is approximately 2.0%.
  3. Ethyl ether is subject to abuse as an inhalant.
  4. Exposure can be determined by measuring ethyl ether in expired air or in blood.
  5. Ethyl ether may cause false positive readings by some instruments made for breath ethanol analysis. It may also compete with ethanol at the metabolic level, as both can be metabolized to acetaldehyde by cytochrome P450 2E1.
Date Last Revised: 08/04/2005

Literature Basis:
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Ethyl Ether.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Diethyl ether.
  • Bell, C.M., Gutowski, S.J., Young, S. and Wells, D.: Diethyl ether interference with infrared breath analysis. J. Anal. Toxicol. 16(3): 166-168, 1992.
  • Brady, J.F., Lee, M.J., Li, M., Ishizaki, H. and Yang, C.S.: Diethyl ether as a substrate for acetone/ethanol-inducible cytochrome P-450 and as an inducer for cytochrome(s) P-450. Mol. Pharmacol. 33(2): 148-154, 1988.
  • Eger, E.I., 2nd, Laster, M.J., Gregory, G.A., Katoh, T. and Sonner, J.M.: Women appear to have the same minimum alveolar concentration as men: a retrospective study. Anesthesiology 99(5): 1059-1061, 2003.
  • Krenz, S., Zimmermann, G., Kolly, S. and Zullino, D.F.: Ether: a forgotten addiction. Addiction 98(8): 1167-1168, 2003.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Ethyl ether. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1104-1106.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Ethyl acetate
    maximum volume: 3 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 3 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 1610) [94 KB PDF, 4 pages]
    method classification: Partially Validated

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Page last updated: 09/05/2006

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