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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Ethyl ester of formic acid, Ethyl methanoate

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1155

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 109-94-4

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: LQ8400000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1190 129

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Ethyl formate: 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 -- 100 ppm, 300 mg/m3 TWA

Construction Industry: 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A -- 100 ppm, 300 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 100 ppm, 300 mg/m3 TWA

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 100 ppm, 303 mg/m3 TWA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 100 ppm, 300 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 1,500 ppm

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, upper respiratory system; burning sensation, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath; headache; drowsiness; eye redness, pain; skin redness, dryness, cracking, burning sensation; in animals: narcosis

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

Affected Organs: Eyes, respiratory system, CNS

Notes:

  1. Vapor/air mixtures may be explosive.
  2. Ethyl formate is generally recognized as safe by the FDA as a direct food substance (21 CFR 184.1295).
  3. Ethyl formate is hydrolyzed to ethanol and formic acid, the latter being the toxic principal for the use of ethyl formate as a pesticide.
  4. The pesticide tolerance for ethyl formate (used to control the flour beetle, Indian meal moth, and raisin moth) was revoked by the EPA in 1999 (removal of 40 CFR 180.520). Interest in ethyl formate as a pesticide, however, continues outside the U.S.

Literature Basis:

  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Ethyl formate.
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Ethyl formate.
  • EPA: Federal Register: Dalapon, Fluchloralin, et al.; Various Tolerance Revocations.
  • Haritos, V.S. and Dojchinov, G.: Cytochrome c oxidase inhibition in the rice weevil Sitophilus oryzae (L.) by formate, the toxic metabolite of volatile alkyl formates. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. C. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 136(2): 135-143, 2003.
  • Keenes, M., et al.: Disinfestation of food processing equipment. Presented at the 12th Annual International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reduction, San Diego, CA, 30 October - 3 November, 2005.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Ethyl Formate. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1106-1108.

Date Last Revised: 11/06/2006

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon Disulfide
    maximum volume: 10 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 1452 [19 KB PDF, 3 pages])
    method classification: Partially Validated

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