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General Description

Synonyms: Glycerin (anhydrous); Glycerol; Glycyl alcohol; 1,2,3-Propanetriol; Trihydroxypropane

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1363

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 56-81-5

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: MA8050000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Glycerin (Mist): 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 -- 15 mg/m3 TWA

Maritime: 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards -- 15 mg/m3 TWA
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 10 mg/m3 TWA

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


Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory system; cough; headache, nausea, vomiting; kidney damage; INGES. ACUTE: Also insomnia; diarrhea; fever; hemolysis, renal failure, hemoglobinuria; elevated blood glucose, diabetic coma, convulsions, paralysis.

Health Effects: Nuisance particulate (HE19)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, kidneys.

Notes:
  1. Inhalation studies in rats with smoke from cigarettes without and with glycerin added as a humectant (5%) indicated no significant biological effect of the addition of glycerin.
  2. Glycerin is listed by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe food additive when used in accordance with good manufacturing practice (21 CFR 182.1320).
  3. In one study, adult plasma glycerol levels after a 12-hour fast averaged 0.1 mmol/liter. Men with an X-linked inherited mutation in glycerol kinase had an average 40-fold higher glycerol level, a higher body-mass index and waist circumference, and impaired glucose tolerance, but were otherwise reported to be apparently healthy.
Date Last Revised: 09/22/2005

Literature Basis:
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Glycerin (Mist).
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Glycerol.
  • Carmines, E.L. and Gaworski, C.L.: Toxicological evaluation of glycerin as a cigarette ingredient. Food Chem. Toxicol. 43(10): 1521-1539, 2005.
  • Gaudet, D., et al.: Glycerol as a correlate of impaired glucose tolerance: dissection of a complex system by use of a simple genetic trait. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 66(5): 1558-1568. 2000.
  • Heck, J.D., Gaworski, C.L., Rajendran, N. and Morrissey, R.L.: Toxicologic evaluation of humectants added to cigarette tobacco: 13-week smoke inhalation study of glycerin and propylene glycol in Fischer 344 rats. Inhal. Toxicol. 14(11): 1135-1152, 2002.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Glycerin (Mist). In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1209-1210.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

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Page last updated: 04/06/2006