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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Hexyl hydride; Normal-hexane

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1380

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 110-54-3

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: MN9275000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1208 128

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - n-Hexane: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Hexane: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit

Limit Values

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

500 ppm (1,800 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Central nervous system depression, slight nausea, headache

HE8

Narcosis

HE16

Eye and throat irritation

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

500 ppm (1,800 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Central nervous system depression, slight nausea, headache

HE8

Narcosis

HE16

Eye and throat irritation

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

500 ppm (1,800 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Central nervous system depression, slight nausea, headache

HE8

Narcosis

HE16

Eye and throat irritation

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

50 ppm
(180 mg/m3) TWA

HE7

Nervous system disturbances, polyneuropathy

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001)

50 ppm
(176 mg/m3) TWA

Skin; BEI

HE7

Nervous system disturbances, central nervous system depression, polyneuropathy, peripheral neuropathy, numbness, tingling of extremities, muscle weakness

HE16

Irritation of the eyes, mucus membranes, and skin

CAL/OSHA PEL

50 ppm
(180 mg/m3) TWA

Skin

HE7

Peripheral neuropathy after skin contact

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

EPA carcinogenic classification: Inadequate information to assess carcinogenic potential

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): 7x10-1 mg/m3

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): 0.6 ppm (chronic)

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 1,100 ppm (10% LEL)

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. Vapor/air mixtures are explosive (NIOSH/IPCS 2000).
  2. Impairment of color vision can occur that may not be noticeable (subclinical) without specific testing for it (Issever et al. 2002).
  3. n-Hexane is metabolized via CYP2B6, CYP2E1, and alcohol dehydrogenase to 2,5-hexanedione, which, after acid treatment of urine, serves as a marker for biological monitoring of exposure (Bolt et al. 2003).
  4. Suppression of immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM, and IgA) levels were noted from exposure to n-hexane (Karakaya et al. 1996). ATSDR discounted this study because reductions of immunoglobulins remained well within the normal ranges, so the toxicological significance cannot be assessed without further confirmatory studies (ATSDR 1999).
  5. Commercial hexane contains a mixture of hexane isomers (n-hexane, 2-methyl pentane, 3-methyl pentane, 2,3-dimethylbutane), cyclohexane, methyl cyclopentane,pentane and heptane isomers The n-hexane content varies from 20 to 80%. (IPCS 1991)
  6. The OSHA PEL applies to total hexane. The CalOSHA PEL applies to n-hexane.
  7. The EPA IRIS RfC  and ATSDR  MRL apply to n-hexane.
  8. The EPA RfC is based on decreased motor nerve conduction velocity observed ina sub-chronic inhalation study in rats. (Huang 1989).
  9. Polyneuropathy has been observed in automotive technicians using aerosol brake cleaners containing 50%--60% hexane (composed of 20%--80% n-hexane), 20%--30% toluene, and 1%--10% each of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), acetone, isopropanol, methanol, and mixed xylenes. (MMWR 2001).

Date Last Revised: 11/16/2012

Literature Basis:


Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Charcoal Tube (100/50 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: Carbon disulfide
    alternative solvent: (99:1) Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    alternative solvent: (95:5) Methylene Chloride:Methanol
    maximum volume: 4 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: NIOSH Analytical Method (NIOSH 1500)
    method classification: Partially Validated

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