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Glycidol

General Description

  • Synonyms: 2-Hydroxymethyloxiran; Hydroxymethyl ethylene oxide; Epoxypropyl alcohol; 3-Hydroxypropylene oxide; 2,3-Epoxy-1-propanol; Glycide
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1365
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 556-52-5
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: UB4375000
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, Glycidol: 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): 2 ppm, 6 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A3 - Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 25 ppm, 75 mg/m3 TWA

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 150 ppm
  • Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, nose, throat, skin; narcosis; cough; dizziness; labored breathing, pulmonary edema (may be delayed); Ingestion Acute: Abdominal pain
  • Health Effects: Irritation-Eye, Nose, Throat, Skin---Moderate (HE15); CNS effects (HE7); Mutagen (HE2)
  • Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system, CNS
  • Notes:
    1. A study of the disposition of radiolabeled glycidol in rats indicated that approximately ¼ to ⅓ of the administered radioactivity (oral or intravenous) was expired as CO2 and 40-48% was excreted in the urine as 15 unidentified metabolites.
    2. In 2-year carcinogenicity studies, oral glycidol induced neoplasms in multiple tissues of rats (37.5 or 75 mg/kg/day) and mice (25 or 50 mg/kg/day), including gliomas of the brain (rarely seen with other chemical carcinogens). Higher doses in shorter-term studies caused brain lesions, testicular atrophy, and kidney damage.
    3. Glycidol was reported to be selectively immunosuppressive in mice, decreasing host resistance to a melanoma tumor model, but not to Listeria monocytogenes or Streptococcus pneumoniae.
    4. Glycidol showed some potential as prion disinfectant in a study with a prion protein that causes scrapie (a spongiform encephalitis) in mice.
  • Literature Basis:
    • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: Glycidol.
    • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Glycidol.
    • No Author: Glycidol (PDF). Report on Carcinogens (latest edition); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program.
    • NTP: NTP toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of glycidol (CAS No. 556-52-5) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (gavage studies). Natl. Toxicol. Program Tech. Rep. Ser. 374: 1-229, 1990.
    • Guo, T.L., et al.: Glycidol modulation of the immune responses in female B6C3F1 mice. Drug Chem. Toxicol. 23(3): 433-457, 2000.
    • Nomeir, A.A., et al.: Comparative disposition of 2,3-epoxy-1-propanol (glycidol) in rats following oral and intravenous administration. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health 44(2): 203-217, 1995.
    • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Glycidol. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1210-1212.
    • Sills, R.C., Hailey, J.R., Neal, J., Boorman, G.A., Haseman, J.K. and Melnick, R.L.: Examination of low-incidence brain tumor responses in F344 rats following chemical exposures in National Toxicology Program carcinogenicity studies. Toxicol. Pathol. 27(5): 589-599, 1999.
    • Yamamoto, M., Horiuchi, M., Ishiguro, N., Shinagawa, M., Matsuo, T. and Keneko, K.: Glycidol degrades scrapie mouse prion protein. J. Vet. Med. Sci. 63(9): 983-990, 2001.
  • Date Last Revised: 10/12/2005

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
  • maximum volume: 50 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
  • method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 1608 (PDF))
  • method classification: Fully Validated
  • analytical solvent: Tetrahydrofuran
  • note: Submit as a separate sample. Refrigerate samples at 4°C immediately and ship on ice to prevent low recoveries. Analyze samples as soon as possible.

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