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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Ferric oxide; Iron (III) oxide; Ferrous oxide; Iron (II) oxide

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1520
(IMIS Name History: Iron Oxide Fume [as Fe2O3] prior to 9/1/89)

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 1332-37-2 (iron oxide); 1309-37-1 (ferric oxide); 1345-25-1 (ferrous oxide)

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: NO7400000 and NO7525000 (fume)

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1376 135 (spent)

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Iron Oxide Dust and Fume (as Fe): Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, 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

10 mg/m3 TWA

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

10 mg/m3 TWA

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

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

10 mg/m3 TWA

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

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

5 mg/m3 TWA

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2006)

5 mg/m3 TWA
(respirable fraction)

A4

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

CAL/OSHA PEL

5 mg/m3 TWA

HE10

Pulmonary siderosis (benign pneumoconiosis)

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established

NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 2,500 mg/m3 (as Fe)

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. The acute intrapulmonary instillation of small ferric oxide particles in human volunteers induced a transient subclinical inflammation that resolved within four days (Lay et al. 1998).
  2. The inhalation of respirable iron oxide particles at an average concentration of 12.7 mg/m3 for 30 minutes by human volunteers was reported to not significantly affect alveolar epithelial permeability, lung diffusing capacity, or pulmonary function (Lay et al. 2001).

Date Last Revised: 11/16/2012

Literature Basis:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Iron Oxide. 2006.
  • Lay, J.C., Bennett, W.D., Kim, C.S., Devlin, R.B. and Bromberg, P.A.: Retention and intracellular distribution of instilled iron oxide particles in human alveolar macrophages. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 18(5): 687-695, 1998.
  • Lay, J.C., Zeman, K.L., Ghio, A.J. and Bennett, W.D.: Effects of inhaled iron oxide particles on alveolar epithelial permeability in normal subjects. Inhal. Toxicol. 13(12): 1065-1078, 2001.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Iron Oxide Fume. September 1978.
  • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Ferric Oxide. October 28, 2004.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
    maximum volume: 960 Liters
    minimum volume: 480 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    alternate analytical method: Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma; ICP-AES, AAS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-125G; OSHA ID-105)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period. Analytical method does not distinguish between dust and fume. When analysis of a compound is requested, an elemental analysis is performed and reported as the compound.

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