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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: magnesium pellets; magnesium powder; magnesium shavings

OSHA IMIS Code Number: M100

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7439-95-4

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: OM2100000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Guide: 1869 138

Chemical Description and Physical Properties:

silvery-white metallic solid in various forms
molecular weight: 24.31
molecular formula: Mg
boiling point: 1100°C
melting point: 649°C

Incompatibilities: May spontaneously ignite on contact with air if finely divided or on heating. Reacts violently with oxidants and many other substances, causing fire and explosion hazard

Health Factors

Potential Symptoms: Irritation of eyes, mucous membranes; cough; headache, dullness, weakness; elevated body temperature, metal fume fever; eye redness, pain; INGES. ACUTE: Abdominal pain, diarrhea

Health Effects: Irritation of eyes, nose, throat, skin---Mild (HE16)

Affected Organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system

Notes:

  1. OSHA does not have a PEL for airborne magnesium particles.
  2. Finely dispersed magnesium particles in air may constitute an explosive mixture if the level reaches 30 g/m3.
  3. In a mortality study of employees at a magnesium foundry during 1940-1961, significant increases in the incidences of deaths from several malignant neoplasms (respiratory, lymphatic, hemopoietic, leukemia) were reported.
  4. In a study of employees at another magnesium foundry, increased incidences of lung, lip, and stomach cancers were found and thought to be possibly related to exposure to chemicals at the foundry other than magnesium, such as asbestos (before 1980), chlorinated coal tar pitch products (e.g., hexachlorobenzene), chlorine gas, and hydrochloric aerosols.
  5. Increased plasma levels of some polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and benzofurans were reported in employees at a magnesium production plant in Norway compared with controls not involved in magnesium production.

Literature Basis:

  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Magnesium (powder).
  • International Chemical Safety Cards (WHO/IPCS/ILO): Magnesium (pellets).
  • Burns, C.J., Cartmill, J.B. and Chau, M.: Cause-specific mortality among Michigan employees of a chemical company: 1940-1994. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 44(2): 168-175, 2002.
  • Hansson, M., Grimstad, T. and Rappe, C.: Occupational exposure to polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans in a magnesium production plant. Occup. Environ. Med. 52(12): 823-826, 1995.
  • Heldaas, S.S., Langard, S. and Andersen, A.: Incidence of cancer in a cohort of magnesium production workers. Br. J. Ind. Med. 46(9): 617-623, 1989.
  • Pohanish, R.P. (editor): Magnesium. In, Sittig's Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, Fourth Ed., Vol. 2. Norwich, NY: Noyes Publications, William Andrew Publishing, 2002, pp. 1421-1423.

Date Last Revised: 04/04/2007

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):

  • 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
    note: Samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period, if the filter is not overloaded.

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