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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Methanol; Wood alcohol; Columbian spirits; Carbinol

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1660

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 67-56-1

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: PC1400000

Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook [4 MB PDF, 392 pages]: 1230 131

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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Methyl Alcohol: 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

200 ppm
(260 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Accumulation in blood and tissues

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

200 ppm
(260 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Accumulation in blood and tissues

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

200 ppm
(260 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Accumulation in blood and tissues

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

200 ppm
(260 mg/m3) TWA

250 ppm (325 mg/m3) STEL

Skin

HE3

Visual disturbances, optic neuropathy

HE7

Headache, drowsiness, dizziness
Target organs: Brain, central nervous system

HE16

Eye, skin, and respiratory irritation; dermatitis

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2009)

200 ppm
(262 mg/m3) TWA

250 ppm
(328 mg/m3) STEL

BEI, Skin

HE3

Visual disturbances, optic neuropathy

HE4

Metabolic acidosis

HE7

Headache, dizziness
Target organs: Brain, central nervous system

HE8

Narcosis
Target organs: Brain, central nervous system

HE16

Sensory irritation
Target organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system

CAL/OSHA PELs

200 ppm (260 mg/m3) TWA

1,000 ppm Ceiling

250 ppm (325 mg/m3) STEL; Skin

HE3

Visual disturbances, optic neuropathy

HE4

Metabolic acidosis

HE7

Headache, dizziness
Target organs: Brain, central nervous system

HE8

Narcosis
Target organs: Brain, central nervous system

HE16

Sensory irritation
Target organs: Eyes, skin, respiratory system

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed

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

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: 6,000 ppm

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. Vapor/air mixtures are highly flammable and explosive (NIOSH/IPCS 2000).
  2. Both acute and chronic exposures can cause specific brain lesions that lead to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease (Finklestein and Vardi 2002), seizures, polyneuropathy, trigeminal anesthesia, and visual/smelling loss (Hageman et al. 2003).

Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012

Literature Basis

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Methanol. 2009.
  • Finkelstein, Y. and Vardi, J.: Progressive parkinsonism in a young experimental physicist following long-term exposure to methanol. Neurotoxicology 23(4-5): 521-525, 2002.
  • Hageman, G., van der Hoek, J.A. and Faber, C.G.: Spastic paraparesis without optic atrophy after occupational methanol exposure. J. Neurol. 250(7): 876-877, 2003.
  • NIOSH. Occupational Health Guideline for Methyl Alcohol. September 1978.
  • NIOSH. Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Methyl Alcohol. March 1976.
  • NIOSH/IPCS. International Chemical Safety Cards - Methanol. November 4, 2000.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

  • sampling media: Two Anasorb 747 Tubes in series (First tube 400 mg, second tube 200 mg section) See note
    analytical solvent: 50:50 Carbon Disulfide:Dimethylformamide
    maximum volume: 3 Liters (RH<50% @ 25°C)
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 5 Liters (RH>50% @ 25°C)
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 0.75 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.05 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA 91)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: Separate tubes and seal each after sampling.
  • sampling media: Silica Gel Tube (520/260 mg sections, 20/40 mesh)
    analytical solvent: 0.02 N H2SO4
    alternate analytical solvent: 95:5 water/isopropanol
    maximum volume: 6 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min (TWA)
    maximum volume: 1.5 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 0.1 L/min (STEL)
    current analytical method: Gas Chromatography; GC/FID
    method reference: NIOSH Modified Analytical Method (NIOSH 2000 [24 KB PDF, 4 pages])
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: The larger size tube is recommended due to low capacity of the 150/75 mg tubes at high humidities.
On-Site Sampling Techniques/Methods:
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: AUER/MSA
    model/type: Ethanol-100, MSA P/N 804136, AUER P/N 5086-818
    sampling information: follow manufacturer's instructions
    upper measurement limit: 2350 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 50 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 111
    sampling information: 0.5 to 4 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 4.5%
    detection limit: 0.0004%
    overall uncertainty: 25% for 0.02 to 0.5%, 16% for 0.5 to 1.5%
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 111L
    sampling information: 1 to 2 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 1000 ppm
    detection limit: 5 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 25% for 40 to 200 ppm, 16% for 200 to 1000 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Gastec
    model/type: 111LL
    sampling information: 2 to 4 strokes
    upper measurement limit: 56 ppm
    detection limit: 0.2 ppm
    overall uncertainty: 25% for 2 to 5 ppm, 16% for 5 to 20 ppm
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-119SA
    sampling information: 1 stroke
    upper measurement limit: 6%
    detection limit: approximately 0.05%
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)
  • device: Detector Tube
    manufacturer: Matheson-Kitagawa
    model/type: 8014-119U
    sampling information: 1 stroke
    upper measurement limit: 1000 ppm
    detection limit: approximately 20 ppm
    overall uncertainty: unknown
    method reference: on-site air secondary (manufacturer)

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